ST. PETERSBURG — The payroll for the 2018 season will become clearer this afternoon after the Rays and their nine arbitration-eligible players exchange figures on one-year contracts.
Those who do not agree to the club’s offer will head to arbitration since the Rays are among a handful of "file-and-trial" teams. That means the Rays will not negotiate past today unless it is for a long-term contract.
The thought is this approach leads to better dialogue during the negotiating process, which could lead to deals being struck sooner, and makes an agent find a salary number that more accurately defines his player’s value over choosing a higher figure with the intent of settling on the midpoint between the two figures.
The Mets and Orioles are reported to be using this policy this season. The Blue Jays, Braves, Marlins and White Sox are among the teams to have used "file-and-trial" in the past.
The Rays have until 1 p.m. today to exchange figures with their arbitration-eligible players, and those players and their representatives have until 4 p.m. to accept the team’s offer or head to an arbitration hearing next month.
It is possible the Rays, who have said they will reduce their $70 million payroll from last season, could move one or more of their arbitration nine, either today or before spring training. The list includes Alex Colome, Corey Dickerson, Jake Odorizzi, Brad Miller and Adeiny Hechavarria.
Here are the arbitration-eligible Rays with their 2017 salaries and what they are projected to receive in 2018 as per MLB Trade Rumors: shortstop Hechavarria $4.35 million (2017) to $5 million (projected for 2018), pitcher Dan Jennings $1.4 million to $2.5 million, outfielder/DH Dickerson $3.025 million to $6.4 million, infielder Miller $3.575 million to $4.4 million, pitcher Odorizzi $4.1 million to $6.5 million, catcher Jesus Sucre $630,000 to $1.3 million, pitcher Colome $547,900 to $5.5 million, outfielder Steven Souza Jr. $546,700 to $3.6 million and infielder Matt Duffy $545,300 to $900,000.