Rays avoid arbitration with all but 2 eligible players

January 12th, 2024

ST. PETERSBURG -- Facing another large group of potential cases, the Rays are set for two hearings after agreeing to terms on Thursday with eight of their 10 remaining arbitration-eligible players.

Tampa Bay did not reach agreements with reliever or designated hitter/outfielder , putting them in line for arbitration hearings. The two sides had to exchange salary figures for the coming season before 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, but they can continue to negotiate until those scheduled hearings.

Adam filed for a $3.25 million salary, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported, while the Rays countered at $2.7 million. Ramírez filed for $4.3 million, per Feinsand, while the Rays came in at $3.8 million.

Adam, one of the club’s top high-leverage relievers, earned $1.775 million last year as he recorded a 2.98 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP with 12 saves and 69 strikeouts in 54 1/3 innings over 56 appearances. Ramírez, a potential trade candidate despite his success with the Rays, earned $2.2 million last season while batting .313/.353/.460 with 12 homers and 68 RBIs in 122 games.

“Very much believe that good-faith efforts were made by all parties to find common ground. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen. Ideally, we get them all done today, they’re all agreed, and off we go. That wasn’t the case, and there’s some work ahead,” Rays president of baseball operations Erik Neander said. “Talked to both players. They understand. It’s an honest difference in interpretation within the criteria and what’s most influential. As long as you keep it there, you avoid it getting personal and sideways the way it can get.

“I think we’re in a good place with our players. We care about them. Nice to get those that we got done, but certainly would have loved to have gotten them all done.”

The Rays agreed to a two-year, $7.2 million deal with rehabbing ace , according to sources, covering his first two years of arbitration eligibility. The contract will pay McClanahan $3.6 million this year and $3.6 million in 2025. As part of the agreement, McClanahan could boost his '25 salary by $120,000 with each start he makes this season.

The left-hander is still likely to sit out the entire season after undergoing his second Tommy John surgery last August. Players going through the arbitration process typically don’t receive a raise if they miss a full year, which is reflected in his identical $3.6 million salaries for 2024 and '25, but those escalators would serve as a built-in raise if his rehab goes smoothly enough for him to return late in the year, as Tyler Glasnow did down the stretch in 2022.

The Rays also agreed to the following one-year deals to avoid arbitration before Thursday’s deadline, per sources:

OF , $8.1 million
RHP , $4.9 million
INF , $3.4 million
LHP , $2.375 million
RHP , $2.05 million
RHP , $1.8625 million
RHP , $1.85 million

Arozarena received a significant raise, up from $4.15 million last year. Civale’s salary also took a big jump from $2.6 million. Coming off a 31-homer, 98-RBI season, Paredes cashed in during his first year of arbitration eligibility. The Rays previously avoided arbitration by agreeing in November to a one-year, $1.95 million contract with recently acquired reliever Tyler Alexander. His deal includes up to $125,000 in performance bonuses, as he’s set to receive $25,000 for pitching 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 innings this year.

Last year, the Rays settled with only half of their 14 arb-eligible players prior to the figure-exchange deadline, but they locked up three others -- Jeffrey Springs, Pete Fairbanks and Yandy Díaz -- on multiyear contract extensions.