PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- He's the first Rays pitcher to record a win this spring, but for Jake Odorizzi, the victory was bittersweet.The 27-year-old right-hander won his arbitration hearing for the second straight season on Thursday, pulling in an extra $350,000. But for Odorizzi, the process of going up against
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- He's the first Rays pitcher to record a win this spring, but for Jake Odorizzi, the victory was bittersweet.
The 27-year-old right-hander won his arbitration hearing for the second straight season on Thursday, pulling in an extra $350,000. But for Odorizzi, the process of going up against your current team for extra money is never enjoyable.
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"It's a weird dynamic, really. You don't know what the arbitrator really clings on to, and what points really get driven home," Odorizzi said. "It's always a toss up, and it's not a fun process to go through, win or lose."
The Rays' pitcher won, and so did teammate shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria earlier this month. But Odorizzi feels the process would be better if it didn't linger into Spring Training, and wanted to make it clear why he filed.
"Going into this process, our filing number wasn't trying to get extra money, it was just the fact that this is what we came to the evaluation of what I was worth and should be valued at," Odorizzi said. "I had the feeling of, I'm not trying to steal extra money in this process, I'm just trying to get what we thought was the correct number.
"I'm not gonna let it dwell on me and change [anything]. I feel like it's all relative to the situation. I'm just not gonna let it affect me."
With arbitration behind him, Odorizzi now must deal with the ongoing trade rumors that have surrounded him the past two seasons, but have amplified this spring.
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"I'll be honest, [it] made things a lot tougher on me than last year at this point," Odorizzi said. "We have one resolution, happy about that, that's something I can put behind me and just focus on getting ready for the season. The other one [is] out of my control. That's kind of the worst of the two because you don't really know what's gonna be happening."
His teammates concur.
"It's tough, you have been with one team for a while, he's got a family," Rays pitcher Jake Faria said. "I feel a lot of it comes down to having to pack up and go somewhere, and not knowing if you're [going to] be settled somewhere for a while. But he knows it's part of the game, and we do too. Whatever happens, I'm sure he's just gonna roll with the punches and jump right into it."
"I'm just here to do my job, and be ready to do my job, and that's all I can really think about," Odorizzi said. "If I start thinking about other things, that's a lot of doubt, and a lot of outside effects that could affect my performance. I kind of really have to stay within this locker space right here and focus on that."
After missing the first two days due to visa issues, Rays catcher Jesus Sucre reported to camp from Venezuela. All 44 of the team's pitchers and catchers have now reported.
"Good to see [him] back," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Didn't think it was gonna be that long of a delay, but you never know. Looks like he came in in good shape, he's been playing. His last game in Venezuela was the 12th of January. We'll monitor him but should get him ramped up pretty quick with full workloads."
Sucre joined teammate Brad Miller in camp on Friday, so now 64 of the 68 players are accounted for.
Cash was happy with the intensity of the workout Friday.
"Good to see guys yelling and screaming at each other a little bit," he said.
In a day which was designed to be shorter than usual, Brent Honeywell, Jaime Schultz and Jonny Venters all threw their second bullpen session of the spring. All but two pitchers on the spring roster (Alex Colome and Sergio Romo) have thrown at least one session so far.
The 'wow' factor
Now that Cash has had a chance to see the bulk of his staff throw, his first impression is more than favorable.
"The video that you see during the season is helpful, but to see [the ball] first-hand coming out of their hand, there's a lot of wow arms being thrown out right now," he said.
Team photo day is on Sunday with the first full-squad workout coming up on Monday.
Mike Nabors is a contributor to MLB.com.