Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays settle with three players, head to arbitration with Upton

B.J. Upton and the Rays were a mere $300,000 apart but weren’t able to come to terms before the team’s deadline.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times (2009)

B.J. Upton and the Rays were a mere $300,000 apart but weren’t able to come to terms before the team’s deadline.

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays' deadline to settle their arbitration cases by Tuesday's midday exchange of salary figures worked for the most part, as they scrambled to strike one-year deals with Jason Bartlett, Matt Garza and J.P. Howell.

But the failure to agree with centerfielder B.J. Upton left them headed to a potentially contentious hearing over a relatively small difference — $300,000 — and the airing of some interesting charges.

First, Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman shared his "nickel theory" that the players union "put a lot more pressure" on agents to be tougher this year in dealing with teams such as the Rays with the policy of ending talks and going to a hearing once the numbers are filed. "I think it's something that the union does not want more teams migrating toward, and had them in turn put more pressure on those teams," he said.

Then union chief Michael Weiner not only denied that claim but said the Rays' strategy "stands the purpose of salary arbitration on its head" and their refusal to negotiate after figures are exchanged "is not consistent with the way the system was designed to operate."

The three settlements all came down to the final hour, and a couple even into a previously undisclosed extra hour or two of what Friedman called buffer time.

Bartlett basically doubled his salary after a career year with a raise to $4 million and was "relieved and happy" to provide security for his family, but also disappointed the Rays didn't offer a long-term deal. "That was my ultimate goal," the shortstop said. "I was all for it, but they didn't want to discuss it."

Garza, in his first year of arbitration eligibility, got a hefty raise after going 8-12 with a 3.95 ERA, from $433,300 to $3.35 million. The right-hander's deal was the last done but was so close at the deadline that both sides agreed to file the settling figure so they could work out final details. Howell went from $433,700 to $1.8 million plus incentives. The reliever joked that not only was he glad to be focused again "on playing rather than money" but that his new wife was happy, too.

Upton, also a first-timer, appeared headed to the $3 million range, and though they got close, the sides couldn't agree. The figures exchanged later Tuesday showed just how close: the Rays offered $3 million, Upton filed for $3.3 million. An arbitration panel will pick one of the numbers after a February hearing.

Agent Larry Reynolds also disputed Friedman's union pressure theory — "that certainly was not the case with me" — and said the lack of agreement was simply a product of the process: "As per their club policy, there's no further room for negotiation. In fairness to the team, we knew all this in advance. We just simply ran out of time."

Friedman said they were "obviously disappointed" not to reach a deal with Upton and would now regroup (their policy does allow talks to continue on a multiyear deal).

"I'm a believer in this process that when you go to a hearing, both sides lose," Friedman said. "And I think both sides are culpable. It doesn't do any good to point fingers one way, or vice versa. The process is in place for a reason. When there's a philosophical difference with the comparable players and how things fall, this is what the system offers."

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

fast facts

Top 2010 salaries

Carlos Peña$10,125,000

Carl Crawford10,000,000

Pat Burrell9,000,000

Rafael Soriano7,250,000

Jason Bartlett4,000,000

Dan Wheeler3,500,000

Matt Garza3,350,000

B.J. Upton3,300,000*

James Shields2,500,000

Kelly Shoppach2,250,000

* $3 million if loses arbitration case

Tampa Bay Rays settle with three players, head to arbitration with Upton 01/19/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 10:21am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. USF defense feeds on Temple offense to take NCAA interceptions lead

    College

    TAMPA — Backed up in his end zone, Temple quarterback Logan Marchi scrambled, trying to elude a USF defensive end coming straight for him. Until then, Marchi hadn't had much luck hitting his receivers.

    South Florida Bulls safety Devin Abraham (20) sacks Temple Owls quarterback Logan Marchi (12) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, September 21, 2017.
  2. No. 21 USF Bulls roll over Temple to stay undefeated

    College

    TAMPA — They emerged from Raymond James Stadium's southwest tunnel on the 11-month anniversary of their public humiliation at Temple.

    Bulls tailback Darius Tice, who rushes for 117 yards, is elated by his 47-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead.
  3. Fennelly: USF thrashes Temple to stay unbeaten; too bad not many saw it in person

    College

    TAMPA

    No. 21 USF ran its record to 4-0 Thursday night with some payback against Temple, a 43-7 trouncing, no contest, as if anyone cares, at least judging by the paltry crowd at Raymond James Stadium. Where was everybody?

    Bulls cornerback Deatrick Nichols (3) celebrates with teammates after making a defensive play during the first half.
  4. Former Ray Tim Beckham's over being traded, or is he?

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — As the Rays reunited Thursday with Tim Beckham for the first time since he was dealt July 31 to Baltimore, it became very clear that not everything in assessing the trade is as it appears.

    Tim Beckham, here in action Monday against the Red Sox, has hit .310, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs since going to the Orioles.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Thursday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    The Rays still talk about having a shot to make the playoffs. But recognizing and correcting mistakes will help them next year, such as Mallex Smith trying to steal third in the first. "Those are the little things we've got to find how to eliminate real quick," manager Kevin Cash said.