Thursday, February 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Forsythe 'in shock' over two-year deal that guarantees $10.25 million

ST. PETERSBURG — Logan Forsythe headed to spring training last year with plans to work hard and hoping for the chance to be more than a part-timer.

That approach paid off, as Forsythe not only got but took full advantage of the opportunity to play every day with an impressive season at the plate and second base that earned him the Rays MVP award.

And Friday he realized the pay off, signing a two-year contract with a 2018 option that guarantees him $10.25 million and could be worth in excess of $20 million.

"I'm still in shock," Forsythe said. "I don't think it's actually sunk in yet."

The Rays also settled on one-year contracts with four of their other arbitration eligible players, and nine of 10 overall.

They will head to a hearing next month with starter Drew Smyly, who is seeking a raise to $3.75 million from $2.65 million despite being limited last season to 12 games (5-2, 3.11) due to shoulder injuries. The Rays offered $3.2 million, and under team policy won't negotiate further, leaving it to a panel of arbitrators to pick between the figures. The Rays are 6-0 in hearings during their 18 seasons.

Baseball operations president Matt Silverman said it was "disappointing" to not settle all the cases, though with a major-league most 10 that was not unexpected, and there was "earnest effort" and "constructive dialogue" on both sides with Smyly.

"We just failed to find common ground," he said. "I'm confident it won't alter our relationship with Drew nor take away from his focus on having a great season."

Players settling their cases Friday were DH/first baseman/outfielder Logan Morrison, who got $4.2 million after making $2.725 million last season in Seattle; pitcher Erasmo Ramirez, who got a hefty raise from $522,800 to $2.375 million in his first year of eligibility; returning catcher Rene Rivera, who got a raise from $1.2 million to $1.7 million despite hitting .178; and incoming catcher Hank Conger, who got $1.5 million after making $1.075 million with Houston.

Though the Rays seemed to be making a big commitment to Forsythe based on one solid season, Silverman said his contributions on and off the field plus the benefits of cost certainty and an additional year of control (with the option covering his first year of free agency) made it "a win-win for both sides."

Forsythe said the security and stability meant a lot. "The money aside, it's just the faith the Rays organization has shown in to offer me an extension just speaks volumes to my family and I," he said. "And we're very appreciative."

Forsythe will get a $2.5 million bonus and $1 million salary (split for MLB accounting purposes) this season, $5.75 million salary next and either a $1 million buyout for 2018 or an $8.5 million salary that can increase up to $11 million based on plate appearances in 2016-17.

Arbitration highlights

MARLINS' FERNANDEZ SIGNS: The Marlins avoided arbitration with ace right-hander Jose Fernandez, agreeing to a one-year deal with the former Alonso standout for $2.8 million with incentives that could push it to $3 million based on number of starts. Fernandez is in his first year of eligibility for arbitration. He earned $651,000 last season. Also, NL batting champion Dee Gordon finalized a $50 million, five-year deal.

ASTROS: AL Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel agreed to a one-year deal worth $7.25 million.

BLUE JAYS: AL MVP Josh Donaldson filed for arbitration, asking for $11.8 million. The team offered $11,350,000. The third baseman lost his case last year and made $4.3 million.

CUBS: NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta is asking for $13 million and the team offered $7.5 million. The right-hander made $3,630,000 last year. Outfielder Chris Coghlan, from East Lake, signed a one-year deal for $4.8 million.

NATIONALS: Right-hander Stephen Strasburg agreed to a $10.4 million deal, getting a raise of $3 million from 2015. Washington signed all of its arbitration-eligible players.

ORIOLES: Third baseman Manny Machado agreed to a one-year, $5 million deal plus incentives, avoiding arbitration. He earned $548,000 last season. Remaining unsigned are relievers Zach Britton and Brian Matusz. Also, Baltimore reportedly made a contract offer to free-agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, According to reports, the team had discussed offering a five-year deal worth $75 million to $90 million.

Rockies: Third baseman Nolan Arenado agreed to a one-year contract. Last season he led the major leagues with 130 RBIs and tied Washington's Bryce Harper for most homers in the National League with 42.

ROYALS: Five players signed one-year deals, leaving All-Star third baseman Mike Moustakas and All-Star outfielder Lorenzo Cain as the only unsigned arbitration-eligible players. Left-hander Danny Duffy received the biggest deal, $4,225,000. Moustakas made $2.64 million last season; Cain made $2,725,000.

YANKEES: Right-hander Michael Pineda and infielder-outfielder Dustin Ackley agreed to one-year deals. The remaining arbitration-eligible players: pitchers Aroldis Chapman, Ivan Nova and Nathan Eovaldi, and shortstop Didi Gregorius. Chapman asked for $13 million, the team offered $9 million.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

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