ST. PETERSBURG — Jeremy Hellickson wasn't sure what to expect going through the arbitration process for the first time, coming off a rough 2013 season and represented by usually hard-line agent Scott Boras.
But by Friday afternoon, the Rays right-hander couldn't have been happier, agreeing to a one-year, $3.65 million deal, a hefty raise after making $503,000 last season while going 12-10 with a 5.17 ERA.
"I'm very pleased," Hellickson, 26, said from his native Iowa. "It really wasn't as tough of a process as you hear about in some cases. I'm very excited for the deal."
The Rays were happy to make it, and five others Friday, settling with all their arbitration-eligible players without the potential rancor of a hearing while gaining cost certainty in a process that typically rewards players based on service time and relative performance.
After agreeing on a team-record $14 million salary for ace David Price on Thursday, the Rays settled with outfielder Matt Joyce at $3.7 million, infielder/outfielder Sean Rodriguez at $1.475 million, lefty reliever Jake McGee at $1.45 million, catcher Jose Lobaton (who is expected to be traded) at $950,000 and lefty reliever Cesar Ramos at $749,750.
"It's a fairly objective process, and when two parties approach it with the mind-set to get something done, usually you can figure out a way to do that," executive vice president Andrew Friedman said. "I was cautiously optimistic, and obviously we're thrilled to have resolved all of our arbitration cases. … It's a suboptimal process if you have to go to a hearing."
Joyce, coming off a down season and a winter of trade rumors, said he welcomed the resolution: "It's always a relief to avoid arbitration and have a deal agreed upon."
Hellickson felt the same way, joking he might buy another coat to battle the Midwest cold but otherwise without any specific plans for his big bucks.
"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."
CLINIC: Former Rays Doug Waechter and Aaron Ledesma are among members of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association hosting a free clinic and autograph session 1-3 p.m. today at St. Petersburg's Canterbury School (990 62nd Ave. NE). Register at baseballalumni.com.
Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @TBTimes_Rays.