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Miller among 9 Rays offered contracts

Cedeno a free agent; Whitley claimed by Braves
MLB.com @wwchastain

ST. PETERSBURG -- Nine arbitration-eligible players were tendered contracts by the Rays prior to Major League Baseball's Friday night deadline.

Tendered contracts were right-handers Alex Colome and Jake Odorizzi; outfielder/designated hitter Corey Dickerson; infielders Brad Miller and Matt Duffy; shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria; catcher Jesus Sucre; left-hander Dan Jennings; and outfielder Steven Souza Jr.

ST. PETERSBURG -- Nine arbitration-eligible players were tendered contracts by the Rays prior to Major League Baseball's Friday night deadline.

Tendered contracts were right-handers Alex Colome and Jake Odorizzi; outfielder/designated hitter Corey Dickerson; infielders Brad Miller and Matt Duffy; shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria; catcher Jesus Sucre; left-hander Dan Jennings; and outfielder Steven Souza Jr.

Left-hander Xavier Cedeno was not tendered a contract, making him a free agent, and earlier in the day, right-hander Chase Whitley was claimed off waivers by the Braves.

The Rays opted to hang tight with Miller, who hit a career-low .201 in 110 games last season. After slugging 30 home runs in 2016, his nine home runs were his fewest since his rookie season in '13 (eight). Despite missing a combined 42 games due to a pair of stints on the disabled list, he had a career-high 63 walks to finish with a .327 on-base percentage.

Video: TB@BAL: Miller lifts an RBI double to left field

"With Brad, certainly coming off a really difficult year," said Rays senior vice president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom. "Performance was not what he would have liked, and health was not what he would have liked.

"I think in retrospect, we don't know exactly how much that hindered him, especially in the second half. But we know the extent of his physical ability. And we've seen what he can do and what he's capable of at the plate."

When asked if the Rays were betting on Miller to make a strong comeback, Bloom replied: "We certainly know he has the ability to do that. And we'll see. There's a lot of offseason left and a lot of different things that can play out. But we wouldn't have tendered him today if we didn't think he had the ability to rebound to what he'd been at the plate prior to last year."

Bloom said of Whitley, "This was a case where we didn't see the lane of opportunity for him with some of the other guys we have here and some of the guys we're trying to create opportunities for coming down the pike."

Video: TB@CWS: Whitley strikes out the side in the 8th

And regarding Cedeno, Bloom said that based on "some of the other guys we have from the left side, we didn't feel like it made sense for us to tender him." Bloom added that the Rays will continue to stay in touch with Cedeno "and hold out the possibility of a return in some capacity."

The Rays' 40-man roster now is at 37 players.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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