Kazmir planning for arbitration
Ace Scott Kazmir expects to end up in arbitration against the Rays.
Even though negotiations are expected to continue until Friday's team-imposed noon deadline, Kazmir said Thursday night he is preparing for a deal to not be reached.
That meant spending Thursday afternoon in California with agents Greg Genske and Brian Peters going over their case and going through a mock hearing so Kazmir, arbitration eligible for the first time, could get familiar with the sometimes contentious process. "We won,'' Kazmir said.
Kazmir said he would prefer to have his contract situation resolved, but understood going through arbitration was part of the business side of the game. Though hearings don't take place until February, the Rays have a team policy to cease negotiations once salary figures are filed, which takes place at noon Friday.
"All we can do is really prepare ourselves because they have the file and trial policy,'' Kazmir said. "I guess you just gotta go. They made it loud and clear. ...
"If we go to arbitration, which it kind of looks like right now, so be it. It's just what we have to do. Sure, it would be nice to have everything settled right now and not have anything to worry about.''
Kazmir, 24 next week, made $424,300 last season while going 13-9 with a 3.48 ERA and leading the AL with 239 strikeouts. He is in line to end up with a salary between $2-million and $4-million.
The Rays also plan to continue talks with 1B Carlos Pena, their other remaining arbitration eligible player. Pena, the team MVP and consensus AL Comeback Player of the Year, is in line to make $4.5-million to $7.5-million.
Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said he remains optimistic of reaching deals with both players, but said the team would stick to policy and "the system is there for a reason.''
If the cases go to a hearing, the arbitrator picks between the salary figures submitted by the team and by the player.