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Howell deal set for $1.35M, 4 still arbitration eligible



LHP J.P. Howell and the Rays are finalizing have completed a one-year deal for $1.35-million to avoid arbitration.

Howell also gets incentive bonuses for 45 and 60 innings pitched, which can push the total value to $1.4-million.

Howell made $1.1-million last season as he came back from shoulder surgery (which forced him to miss all of 2010), rejoining the team in late May and going 2-3 with a 6.16 ERA in 46 games.

"I'm extremely pleased" to have this deal done,'' Howell said. "It's been a pleasure through this 3-year arbitration (eligibility). The goal in day one of camp for me, and I'm sure everyone in the Tampa Bay Rays organization, is to never, ever lose focus of our process. Our process can win championships, and that's the goal.''

The Rays have four players remaining in arbitration - RHP Burke Badenhop, RHP Jeff Niemann, LHP David Price, CF B.J. Upton - with a 1 p.m. Tuesday deadline to exchange figures and, under team policy, proceed directly to a hearing, which would be next month.

The Rays have their reasons for doing it that way - to try to reach a deal, since most don't happen until a deadline looms, and to avoid settling at what they consider an artificial midpoint between the submitted figures, which can be millions apart. If a case goes to a hearing, the arbitrators pick one of the figures. The Rays have gone to four hearings in the six years under executive VP Andrew Friedman and won them all.


[Last modified: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 12:41am]


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