Arbitration deadline update: Joyce set at $3.7M, Hellickson $3.625M, no hearings needed
UPDATE, 3:29: Rays exec VP Andrew Friedman said he was glad to have resolution with all the players: "I was cautiously optimistic. We're thrilled to have resolved all of our cases." Friedman wouldn't comment, as per usual, when asked about a potential David Price trade.
UPDATE, 2:18: Hellickson said he was very pleased to avoid a hearing, very excited by his new deal, very motivated to do better this season after rough 2013. Said he is working hard, feeling good, eager to come down from native Iowa and start working out in Florida in early Feb.
No major plans for his $3.65-million salary, he said. "I'll be able to take care of my family a little bit, that's really about it. I don't really see spending too much on myself,'' he said. "That's a lot more money than I ever thought I'd make playing the game of baseball.''
UPDATE, 1:24: All deals have now been confirmed, as Rays reach agreements with all 7 arbitration eligible players.
Here are the deals:
Hellickson $3,625,000, plus $25,000 for 195 innings
Rodriguez $1,475,000 plus $25,000 for 300 plate appearances
UPDATE, 1:16: The Rays announce they have agreed with all six players, so no hearings this year. Lobaton got $950,000, per Sherman. Still waiting on Ramos number.
UPDATE, 1:10: Haven't heard from the Rays or the agents yet, but Hellickson agreed to a $3.625-million deal, per Sherman, and Rodriguez got $1.475-million. That leaves Lobaton and Ramos, and settlements would seem likely.
UPDATE, 1:02: Though the deadline to exchange figures is 1 p.m., it can take a while for word to filter out on last-minute settlements. So no news now doesn't necessarily mean no deals.
UPDATE, 12:56: McGee and the Rays agreed at $1.45-million, according to Joel Sherman of MLB Network and the NY Post. That's a pretty good jump for McGee, a first-time eligible who made $506,200 last season.
UPDATE, 12:34: Joyce, who grew up in the Brandon area and attended Armwood High, said he was glad to have his status resolved and be able to stay with the Rays after some off-season trade rumors.
"I'm excited to come back and play for Tampa Bay, play for a team that looks to be a contending team,'' he said. "We have a lot of guys coming back and everybody's excited about that, and we should be in the running again to definitely make the playoffs, and hopefully the World Series.''
As for his own performance, Joyce said he is working hard and eager to get started. "I'm just working hard, doing everything I can to play and come back and have the year I know I can have,'' he said.
UPDATE, 11:31: Joyce is the first one to make a deal, agreeing to a 1-year, $3.7-million contract.
Joyce made $2.45-million last season, and hit .235 with 18 homers and 47 RBIs. He is expected to split time this season between the outfield and DH.
DEVELOPING: After agreeing to a team-record $14-million salary with ace LHP David Price on Thursday, the Rays have six remaining arbitration eligible players to negotiate with headed toward today's 1 p.m. deadline.
Of the six, OF Matt Joyce, in his second year of eligibility, and RHP Jeremy Hellickson, a first-timer, are the biggest deals, both projected to get around $3.5-million. The other four, all of whom should be under $1.5-million, are INF/OF Sean Rodriguez, C Jose Lobaton, LHP Jake McGee, LHP Cesar Ramos.
Today is the deadline to exchange figures, but under Rays team policy, negotiations cease at that point and players who have not agreed to terms are headed to a hearing.
Settlements are expected for most, if not all, of the six. Hellickson, repped by hard-line agent Scott Boras, would seem most liklely to head to a hearing, though he is coming off a down year.
The Rays are 5-0 in hearings in the Andrew Friedman regime, 6-0 overall. At a hearing, a three-member panel of arbitrators hears from the players side and the team and then picks one of the figures.