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Tampa Bay Rays agree to terms with final four arbitration-eligible players

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays ended the arbitration process early this season, agreeing to terms with their four remaining eligible players before Friday's exchange of figures.

Outfielder Matt Joyce was the biggest beneficiary in his first year in the process that always results in a raise, the Tampa native jumping from the $499,500 he made last season to $2,450,000.

"I don't think anybody really wants to go to arbitration (hearings); they're never any fun for the team or the player," Joyce, 28, said. "As for me, I'm happy. I'm really happy. I'm at home, my friends and family are still able to watch me play.

"I'm really looking forward to this year. I've put in a lot of time studying my mechanics and comparing. I feel like I'm more ready than I ever have been."

Infielder Ryan Roberts, 32, did well — especially after a 2012 season in which he hit .235 with a .656 on-base plus slugging percentage for the Diamondbacks and Rays — with a raise from $2,021,500 to $2,950,000 and a chance to get to $3 million if he makes 450 plate appearances.

Pitcher Jeff Niemann, 29, who made only eight starts in a season lost mostly to injury, got a raise from $2,750,000 (after losing in arbitration last year) to $3 million.

Outfielder Sam Fuld, 31, who also missed much of the season with injury, agreed to a salary of $725,000 after making $489,400.

The Rays, the majors' only unbeaten team in arbitration hearings (6-0), had previously agreed to terms with infielder Sean Rodriguez for $1 million and pitcher David Price, whose $10,112,500 deal includes a $5 million signing bonus (paid Dec. 31), a deferred payment of $4,112,500 (due Oct. 31, 2014) and a $1 million salary.

Also:

• Price will officially receive his Cy Young Award tonight at the annual banquet hosted by the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia is the scheduled presenter.

• Spring training tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. today at the team's usual outlets, including Tropicana Field, the Tampa team store, Charlotte Sports Park, all Ticketmaster outlets (including ticketmaster.com) and raysbaseball.com.

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@tampabay.com.

Tampa Bay Rays agree to terms with final four arbitration-eligible players 01/18/13 [Last modified: Friday, January 18, 2013 10:31pm]
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