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Rays tender contracts to all arb-eligible players

Zunino, Pham, Duffy, Roe key to Tampa Bay's 2019 plans
MLB.com @JoeTrezz

There was no contract deadline drama for Tampa Bay on Friday, when the Rays tendered deals for next season to all four of their arbitration-eligible players. As expected, catcher Mike Zunino, outfielder Tommy Pham, infielder Matt Duffy and right-hander Chaz Roe were offered contracts.

Clubs across Major League Baseball faced an 8 p.m. ET deadline to decide whether to offer contracts to their arbitration-eligible players. Doing so was little less than a formality for the Rays, who figure to rely heavily on all their arb-eligible players in 2019.

There was no contract deadline drama for Tampa Bay on Friday, when the Rays tendered deals for next season to all four of their arbitration-eligible players. As expected, catcher Mike Zunino, outfielder Tommy Pham, infielder Matt Duffy and right-hander Chaz Roe were offered contracts.

Clubs across Major League Baseball faced an 8 p.m. ET deadline to decide whether to offer contracts to their arbitration-eligible players. Doing so was little less than a formality for the Rays, who figure to rely heavily on all their arb-eligible players in 2019.

To "tender" a contract to an arbitration-eligible player is to agree to give a contract for the upcoming season to a player who is under club control (typically between three and six years of service time). This does not mean that the two sides set a specific salary, but that they agree to come to terms on a salary between the date of the tender and late February. If the two sides cannot come to terms on a salary or multi-year deal, an arbitration hearing will be held and a panel of arbitrators will determine the salary. The offseason deadline for clubs to tender contracts to eligible players typically falls in early December.

Of the group, Pham is set for the biggest raise. Acquired from the Cardinals at last year's non-waiver Trade Deadline, Pham hit .275/.367/.464 across 137 games between St. Louis and Tampa Bay, including .343/.448/.622 with seven home runs in 39 games for the Rays. Pham rejected a two-year, $4 million extension offer from the Cardinals after his breakout 2017 season, which earned him down-ballot National League MVP votes. He earned $570,000 after his contract was renewed in Spring Training.

Pham's 2019 salary is projected to be in the $4 million range, per MLBTradeRumors.com.

Zunino and Duffy are both arbitration-eligible for the second time. Zunino is penciled in as the club's primary catcher after being acquired from the Mariners on Nov. 8. He made $2.975 million last season while hitting .201 with a .669 OPS in 113 games. Pham (21 home runs) and Zunino (20 homers) supplied the most power of any players on the current Rays roster, after the club DFA'd C.J. Cron on Nov. 20. Cron was subsequently claimed by the Twins. The Rays' only borderline non-tender candidate was Roe, a 32-year-old journeyman whose salary is set to crack $1 million for the first time. But the righty proved a reliable bullpen piece in 2018, posting a 3.58 ERA and 35 holds across 61 appearances.

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

Tampa Bay Rays