ST. PETERSBURG — After doing considerable reshaping of their roster over the past few weeks, the Rays decided at Friday’s latest contract deadline to stick — for now — with the group they have.
All 14 arbitration-eligible players on the 40-man roster were tendered contracts, with their 2023 salaries to be determined via negotiations over the next few months or, if not, then by a panel of arbitrators.
The decision means, essentially, that the Rays value them enough to keep them on the team or at least that they can get something for them in trade.
While the more prominent players on the list, such as Randy Arozarena, Yandy Diaz and Jeffrey Springs, were easy calls, there were a few the Rays considered dropping rather than paying salaries that escalate — at times significantly — through the arbitration process.
“We typically have to make some difficult decisions this time of year, and this year is no different,” Rays general manager Peter Bendix said. “We’re happy about the state of the roster right now and will continue to look to upgrade during the rest of the offseason.”
Players not tendered contracts by the 8 p.m. deadline became free agents. They are available to be signed for any negotiated amount and not bound by the arbitration framework, increasing the pool of candidates for teams such as the Rays who are seeking additions.
Among the big names now available are first baseman/outfielder Cody Bellinger, the former league MVP who was dropped by the Dodgers; and first baseman/outfielder Dominic Smith, by the Mets.
The Rays did take some action on three players they designated for assignment and removed from the roster on Tuesday:
• Lefty Ryan Yarbrough, who was 3-8 with a 4.50 ERA this season and 40-31, 4.33 over five, was non-tendered and became a free agent, with no teams interested in a trade at his projected $4.2 million salary.
• Reliever Javy Guerra, who is not yet arbitration-eligible, was traded to the Brewers for a player to be named.
• Rookie outfielder Bligh Madris, who played only at Triple-A after being acquired in September from the Pirates, was claimed off waivers by the Tigers.
Here are the 14 players the Rays tendered and their projected salaries via mlbtraderumors.com:
Pitchers: Jason Adam $1.9 million, Shawn Armstrong $1.3 million, Jalen Beeks $1.2 million, Yonny Chirinos $1.6 million, Pete Fairbanks $1.5 million, Andrew Kittredge $2 million, Colin Poche $1.7 million, Jeffrey Springs $3 million, Ryan Thompson $1.1 million
Catchers: Christian Bethancourt $1.6 million, Francisco Mejia $2.2 million
Infielders/outfielders: Arozarena $4 million, Diaz $5.4 million, Harold Ramirez $2.1 million
Two minor leaguers suspended
The commissioner’s office announced that two Rays minor-leaguers were suspended for violations of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene
Subscribe to our free Sports Today newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
Infielder Johan Lopez, who played for Class A Bowling Green, Double-A Montgomery and briefly for Triple-A Durham in 2022, was suspended 80 games without pay after testing positive for the performance-enhancing substance Stanozolol.
Left-hander Egory Manuela, who is on the Dominican Summer League roster, was suspended 25 games without pay for an unspecified violation.
• • •
Sign up for the Rays Report weekly newsletter to get fresh perspectives on the Tampa Bay Rays and the rest of the majors from sports columnist John Romano.
Never miss out on the latest with the Bucs, Rays, Lightning, Florida college sports and more. Follow our Tampa Bay Times sports team on Twitter and Facebook.