UPDATE, 4:25: The Rays are tendering contracts to all four arb-eligible players, Zunino, Pham, Duffy and Roe, so there will be no deadline drama tonight.
DEVELOPING: The Rays head to tonight's 8 p.m. deadline expected to tender contracts to their four remaining arbitration eligible players — C Mike Zunino, OF Tommy Pham, INF Matt Duffy, RHP Chaz Roe — plus the other 35 on their roster (as CF Kevin Kiermaier already has a long-term deal).
Zunino, acquired earlier this month from Seattle, is projected by the usually reliable mlbtraderumors.com experts to make the make the most at $4.2 million. Pham is estimated at $4 million, Duffy $2.6 million, Roe $1.4 million.
Negotiations can take place until Jan. 11, when figures are exchanged. The Rays are among a growing number of teams that employ a "file-and-trial" strategy of proceeding to a hearing if no deal has been made by then. They went to hearings last year with RHP Jake Odorizzi and SS Adeiny Hechavarria and lost both.
Zunino is arb-eligible for the second of three times after making $2.975 million last season, hitting .201 with a .669 OPS, 20 homers and 44 RBIs. He is expected to be the Rays primary catcher in 2019, sharing time with Michael Perez.
Pham, acquired July 31 from St. Louis, is eligible for the first time and in line for a hefty raise after making $570,100 last season when he hit .275 overall with an .830 OPS, 21 homers and 63 RBIs in 137 games. In 39 games after coming to the Rays, and serving a short DL stint, he hit .343 with a 1.071 OPS, 7 homers and 22 RBIs. Pham, currently playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic, is expected to hit in the middle of the order and play leftfield.
Duffy is eligible for the second time, making $930,000 last season as he returned to action after missing all of 2017 as the result of a left heel injury. He hit .294 with a .727 OPS, 4 homers and 44 RBIs playing in 132 games, and looks to be the starting third baseman.
Roe is eligible for the first time, having made $720,000 last season while posting a 1-3, 3.58 record in 61 games, missing time for arthroscopic knee surgery.