ST. PETERSBURG — Alex Cobb did plenty of listening as his agents led him through the arbitration process for the first time, agreeing Friday to a one-year deal with the Rays for $4 million.
Then the 27-year-old right-hander indicated he would be open to talking more about a contract that could tie him to the Rays long term.
"Nothing's ever off the table," Cobb said. "I'm always open for discussion; I think everyone always should be."
Cobb, who made $516,900 last season, got the biggest salary as the Rays settled with all eight of their arbitration-eligible players in advance of the team-imposed deadline to cut off talks at the 1 p.m. exchange of figures and move on to a hearing.
"The goal is to reach agreeable outcomes with our players prior to the filing deadline," baseball operations president Matt Silverman said. "I'm happy that we were able to find common ground, and now we can all turn our full attention to the season ahead."
Cobb said he found the process interesting and rewarding.
"I didn't really know what to expect," he said. "I like competition. I like going through new things. I wouldn't say I hated it. It had some low points and some good points. At the end of the day, it was well worth it."
Other first-timers getting considerable 2015 salary hikes from the $500,000 range were outfielder Desmond Jennings, $3.1 million; starter Drew Smyly, $2.65 million; new catcher Rene Rivera, $1.2 million (plus up to $200,000 in games-played incentives); and infielder Logan Forsythe, $1.1 million.
Jake McGee, who emerged last season as the closer but will open this season on the disabled list as he recovers from elbow surgery, more than doubled his salary, from $1.45 million to $3.55 million.
Designated hitter/catcher John Jaso, who made $2.3 million in Oakland last year, agreed at $3.175 million, and new reliever Kevin Jepsen, who made $1,462,500 with the Angels, got a raise to $3.025 million.
Also, the Rays announced the signings of catcher Mayo Acosta and pitchers Jhan Mariñez and Everett Teaford to minor-league contracts with spring-training invitations and confirmed previously reported deals with infielder Juan Francisco and outfielder Joey Butler.
Mariñez, 26, is a hard-throwing righty reliever who has made brief big-league appearances with the Marlins (2010) and White Sox (2012), and spent last season at Double A and Triple A with the Dodgers and Tigers. Teaford, a 30-year-old lefty, spent parts of 2011-13 with the Royals and last season was in Korea. Acosta, 27, re-signed after spending last season with Triple-A Durham; he has been in the Rays organization since 2007.
Contact Marc Topkin at [email protected] Follow @TBTimes_Rays.