ST. PETERSBURG -- Jake Odorizzi and Adeiny Hechavarria will go to arbitration, while the Rays settled on 2018 contracts with their other seven arbitration-eligible players on Friday.The seven include right-hander Dan Jennings, outfielder/DH Corey Dickerson, infielder Brad Miller, catcher Jesus Sucre, right-hander Alex Colome, outfielder Steven Souza Jr. and infielder Matt
ST. PETERSBURG -- Jake Odorizzi and Adeiny Hechavarria will go to arbitration, while the Rays settled on 2018 contracts with their other seven arbitration-eligible players on Friday.
The seven include right-hander Dan Jennings, outfielder/DH Corey Dickerson, infielder Brad Miller, catcher Jesus Sucre, right-hander Alex Colome, outfielder Steven Souza Jr. and infielder Matt Duffy.
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The Rays have not released figures on the players, but according to a source, Colome has agreed to a $5.3 million contract, up from the $547,900 he made in 2017, while Miller ($4.5 million), Souza ($3.55 million), Dickerson ($5.95 million), Duffy ($930,000), Jennings ($2.375 million) and Sucre ($925,000) will also receive salary increases from last year.
Arbitration-eligible players and their teams had to exchange proposed salary figures for 2018 by Friday's 1 p.m. ET deadline. If a team and player do not settle, they will go to an arbitration hearing, in which a panel of arbitrators decides between the team and player's competing figures. Teams can still negotiate with players prior to the arbitration date, but the Rays do not conduct business in said fashion.
The Rays have a "file-and-trial" policy, so those players who do not agree to their offer will head to arbitration. The Rays do not negotiate past the deadline to exchange salary figures unless it is for a long-term contract.
By operating in this fashion, the Rays feel they better utilize the negotiating period to reach a deal, which is normally a compromise between the figure the player wants and what the team wants to offer.
Even though the Rays have reached agreements with the seven players and they are bound to pay the amount the arbitrator deems suitable in the cases of Hechavarria and Odorizzi, it's no guarantee all will be back with the team in 2018.
"We don't have any reason to think that it affected the outcome," Rays senior vice president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom said when asked if Odorizzi's switching of agents affected the negotiation. "Obviously these are unusual circumstances and we wanted to respect how tough a week it's been for Jake. So we handled his case as straightforwardly as we could. We always want to find a fair settlement and this was no exception. We just had an honest disagreement."
The Rays are operating in a mode to reduce last year's payroll, which stood at $70 million on Opening Day.
Of the Rays' players in the news on Friday, Colome has been the most widely rumored to be headed to a new destination in 2018. But given the climate, Odorizzi, Hechavarria, and Dickerson could also be in play.
The Rays are 6-2 in arbitration cases since Stu Sternberg took over ownership following the 2005 season. However, they have lost cases the past two seasons to Drew Smyly and Odorizzi.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.