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Rays journal: All-Star season nets meager raise for Alex Colome ... for now

Rays centerfielder Johnny Field makes a diving catch of a ball hit by the Pirates’ Phil Gosselin during the third inning.
Rays centerfielder Johnny Field makes a diving catch of a ball hit by the Pirates’ Phil Gosselin during the third inning.
Published Mar. 10, 2017

PORT CHARLOTTE — What's the reward for a breakthrough season that includes an All-Star selection and a team-leading 37 saves?

In Alex Colome's case, just a $26,200 raise — to a $547,900 salary.

As a player with less than three years service time so ineligible for arbitration, Colome has no real leverage in negotiating a contract. The Rays have a fairly rigid pay scale for that group, based more on service time than performance or accomplishments, and offered $552,900.

Colome and agent Rafa Nieves declined to agree, basically as a matter of principle. That allowed the Rays to instead renew his contract, which, per team policy, reduces the offer by $5,000, leading to the $547,000 salary.

"Alex felt that he was not compensated enough for his All-Star season," Nieves said. "He has no hard feelings, and he's focused on replicating his 2016 performance and helping the team get to the playoffs."

Colome, who made $521,700 last season, might be gambling that leaving the $5,000 on the table now can help in future negotiations, as he will be eligible for the riches of arbitration next year.

Actually, Colome came out better because of the new collective bargaining agreement, which raised the MLB minimum salary from $507,500 to $535,000.

Otherwise, he would've been in a similar position to two teammates who last year received pay cuts: RHP Brad Boxberger, after making the 2015 All-Star team and leading the AL in saves, by $2,200 (to $519,200) and RHP Jake Odorizzi $1,600 (to $520,700). The Rays appear to have reached agreement with all their other 0-3 players in advance of Saturday's MLB deadline.

Consistent inconsistency

Second-year starter LHP Blake Snell threw 49 pitches (31 strikes) to get through just two innings Thursday, allowing five hits and a walk, which even for a spring training getting-your work-in outing is still pretty bad.

"Lack of command, I'd say," he explained. "I liked my changeup a lot, so I kept throwing it. I just need to command the zone better. I feel like I know what I need to do and looking forward to the next one. … I'll click (it in), for sure. It is spring and there's things that I'm working on as well. I feel confident in it. And I'm not too worried about it at this point."

Manager Kevin Cash was similarly unconcerned, noting Snell's previous outing was one of his best: "He's got to find that consistency somehow, and this is the time to do it."

Game report: Rays lose to Pirates 10-8

Veteran nonroster RHP Tommy Hunter allowed four runs on five hits without getting out of the fifth but has showed the velocity the Rays (6-5-1) are interested in. … Brad Miller, getting a start at short, homered to left-center. … OF Johnny Field made the play of the day with a diving catch in right. … Pirates manager Clint Hurdle made a pitching change with two outs in the ninth.

Proper tribute

A bus will take staff to Saturday's Fort Lauderdale funeral for longtime Triple-A Durham clubhouse manager Colin Saunders. GM Erik Neander, plus third-base coach Charlie Montoyo and radio man Neil Solondz, both Durham veterans, are among those going, along with the minor-league clubhouse workers whose duties in Port Charlotte will be covered by some coaches and big-league staff.

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Familiar foes

RHP Diego Moreno, who is pitching his way into the bullpen conversation, was still chuckling about Wednesday's exhibition, when he pitched the final two innings for Colombia but sat in the Tampa Bay dugout between frames. "I didn't want to go to another (team), this is my team," he said. "So I go with my team."

Spring things

. A few small cuts might be coming soon, but with split-squad games on Tuesday and minor-league exhibitions not starting until Wednesday, the Rays need to keep most of their healthy bodies around.

. Big-name players slated to go to Bradenton today include INF/OF Tim Beckham, C Curt Casali, OF Steven Souza Jr.

. New Fox Sports Sun reporter Alex Corddry has been with the team, preparing for her debut on Sunday's first telecast.

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