ST. PETERSBURG — For the second straight winter, pitcher Jake Odorizzi is taking the Rays to arbitration.
Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria will join him.
They were the only two of the nine arbitration-eligible Rays to not agree to a one-year contract by Friday’s 1 p.m. deadline for the upcoming season.
The Rays are not far apart with Odorizzi and Hechavarria.
The team offered Odorizzi $6.05 million. He’s asking for $6.3 million. Hechavarria was offered $5.35 million. He’s asking for $5.9 million.
Odorizzi won his case last season when he was awarded $4.1 million by an arbitrator. The team offered $3.825 million.
His negotiations this week were interrupted when he left Career Sports Entertainment after his agent, Jason Wood, was fired and suspended by Major League Baseball after allegations he used a hidden camera to film clients taking showers at his house. Odorizzi quickly signed with Excel Sports.
What impact that had on negotiations is unknown. Odorizzi did not return a text to the Tampa Bay Times.
"We don’t have any reason to think that it affected the outcome," Rays senior vice president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom said in a statement. "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."
Hechavarria made $4.35 million last season.
The Rays do not negotiate with their arbitration-eligible players once they fail to reach an agreement when the figures were exchanged unless it is for a multi-year deal. The arbitration hearings take place in February.
Of the seven Rays who avoided arbitration, leftfielder/designated hitter Corey Dickerson came away with the biggest contract after agreeing to a $5.95 million deal. He made $3.025 million in 2017, when he was one of the top hitters in baseball during the first three months of the season and earned a starting spot for the American League in the All-star Game.
Closer Alex Colome, whose 47 saves made him the first Ray to lead the majors in saves, earned the biggest raise during his first year as arbitration-eligible, going from $547,900 last season to $5.3 million for 2018.
Rightfielder Steven Souza’s breakout season included career highs in games (148), home runs (30), RBIs (78), hits (125) and runs (78), earning him a raise from $546,700 to this year’s base contract of $3.55 million.
Second baseman Brad Miller will make $4.5 million after making $3.575 million in 2017. Reliever Dan Jennings, who joined the team at the non-waiver trade deadline, will make $2.375. He made $1.4 million after beginning the 2017 season with the White Sox.
Infielder Matt Duffy, who likely will replace Evan Longoria at third base, agreed to a $930,000 contract. He made $545,300 last season despite missing the entire year with a heel injury.
Backup catcher Jesus Sucre, who made $630,000 last season, will make $925,000 this season