Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Smyly is first to beat Rays in an arbitration hearing

ST. PETERSBURG — Drew Smyly did what B.J. Upton, Jeff Niemann, Josh Paul, Dioner Navarro and Esteban Yan couldn't do — beat the Rays in an arbitration hearing.

A three-member panel ruled Thursday in favor of the left-handed pitcher, who will be paid $3.75 million this season. The Rays offered $3.2 million.

Either figured represented a solid raise from the $2.65 million Smyly made in a 2015 season in which he was limited to 12 starts, going 5-2, 3.11, due to shoulder injuries that required two stints on the disabled list.

Though the difference between the salaries was only $550,000, the case went to a hearing in Phoenix because of the Rays team policy to cut off negotiations once figures are exchanged.

The Rays were represented at the nearly four-hour hearing by senior vice president/general counsel John Higgins. Smyly, 26, who was in attendance, was represented by agents Darek Braunecker and Mark Rodgers.

"We're happy to have this process behind us so we can focus all of our attention on getting ready for the season," Rays baseball operations president Matt Silverman said.

The Rays started the annual arbitration process with 10 players eligible, settling on one-year deals with eight (including since-traded reliever Jake McGee) and agreeing on a two-year deal with the other, second baseman Logan Forsythe.

In franchise history, the Rays had been 6-0 in hearings, beating Yan in 2002, Paul in 2006 and 2007, Navarro in 2009, Upton in 2010 and Niemann in 2012.

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