Rays offer contracts to 8 arbitration-eligible players, non-tender Xavier Cedeno

BY Tampa Bay Rays press release • December 1, 2017

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays have tendered contract offers to nine of their arbitration-eligible players: right-handed pitcher Alex Colomé, outfielder/designated hitter Corey Dickerson, infielder Matt Duffy, shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, left-handed pitcher Dan Jennings, infielder Brad Miller, right-handed pitcher Jake Odorizzi, outfielder Steven Souza Jr. and catcher Jesús Sucre.

In addition, the Rays non-tendered left-handed pitcher Xavier Cedeño, making him a free agent. He was limited to nine appearances last season due to left forearm tightness. Right-handed pitcher Chase Whitley has been claimed off waivers by the Atlanta Braves. He went 2-1 with a 4.08 ERA (57.1-IP, 26-ER) over 41 appearances over three stints with the Rays last season.

The Rays 40-man roster currently consists of 37 players.

Colomé, 28, was 2-3 with a 2.34 ERA (66.2-IP, 24-ER) last season and became the first pitcher in franchise history to lead the majors in saves. His 47 saves were six more than any other pitcher in the majors, the largest cushion over second place since Francisco Rodríguez (Angels) in 2008. It also ranked second for a single season in franchise history and was one shy of tying the club record. Despite just two seasons as the Rays closer, he ranks third in franchise history with 84 saves, behind righthanders Roberto Hernández (101) and Fernando Rodney (85). Over parts of five seasons in the majors, he is 15-13 with a 3.14 ERA (272.2-IP, 95-ER) in 173 appearances (19 starts).

Dickerson, 28, was the starting designated hitter for the American League at the All-Star Game in 2017, his first career appearance. He became the fourth Ray to start an All-Star Game, joining third baseman Evan Longoria (2010), left fielder Carl Crawford (2010) and left-handed pitcher David Price (2010). He hit .282/.325/.490 (166-for-588) and established career highs with 150 games, 84 runs, 166 hits, 64 extra-base hits, 27 home runs, 288 total bases and 51 multi-hit games. He appeared in 150 games and made 139 starts: 86 starts in left field and 53 starts at designated hitter. Despite making only 57 starts out of the leadoff spot, his six leadoff home runs tied for third in the majors and were a single-season club record. Over parts of five seasons in the majors, he has hit .280/.325/.504 (546-for-1,952) with 90 home runs and 256 RBI.

Duffy, 26, missed all of last season recovering from Achilles surgery. He was acquired by the Rays from the San Francisco Giants at the 2016 trade deadline and took over as the Rays starting shortstop following the trade. In 2016, he combined to hit .258/.310/357 (86-for-333) with 14 doubles, five home runs and 28 RBI. He finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year race in 2015 behind unanimous winner Kris Bryant (Cubs). Over parts of three seasons in the majors, he has hit .281/.324/.395 (271-for-966) with 17 home runs and 113 RBI in 274 games.

Hechavarria, 28, was acquired by the Rays from the Miami Marlins on June 26. He combined to hit .261/.289/.406 (86for-330) with a career-high eight home runs. He appeared in 77 games for the Rays, including 74 starts at shortstop, and recorded a .987 fielding percentage which ranked third among major league shortstops following the trade. He finished the season riding streaks of 51 errorless games and 179 errorless chances, which both rank third in club history for a shortstop. From August 15 through the end of the season, he hit .299/.345/.560 (40-for-134) with 19 extra-base hits in 39 games. Over parts of six seasons in the majors, he has hit .255/.291/.345 (641-for-2,513) with 22 home runs and 207 RBI.

Jennings, 30, was acquired by the Rays from the Chicago White Sox prior to the July 31 trade deadline. He combined to go 3-1 with a 3.45 ERA (62.2-IP, 24-ER) in 77 appearances between the White Sox (48) and Rays (29), which tied for third in the majors and was the most among left-handed pitchers. He finished the season on a streak of 13 consecutive scoreless appearances and crafted a 1.15 ERA (15.2-IP, 2-ER) over his final 22 appearances with the Rays. Over parts of six seasons in the majors, he is 12-13 with a 2.90 ERA (279.2-IP, 90-ER) in 310 appearances.

Miller, 28, hit a career-low .201 (68-for-338) in 110 games (96 starts) with the Rays last season. After slugging 30 home runs in 2016, his nine home runs were his fewest since his rookie season in 2013 (eight). Despite missing a combined 42 games due to a pair of stints on the disabled list, he had a career-high 63 walks to finish with a .327 on-base percentage. He made 87 starts at second base, his first action there since September 6, 2015. Over parts of five seasons in the majors, he has appeared at shortstop (369 games), second base (135 games), first base (39 games), center field (20 games), left field (16 games), third base (seven games) and right field (six games). He is a career .238/.313/.409 (476-for-1,997) hitter with 90 doubles, 23 triples, 68 home runs and 239 RBI.

Odorizzi, 27, was 10-8 with a 4.14 ERA (143.1-IP, 66-ER) in 28 starts last season. Despite two stints on the disabled list, it marked his fourth straight season of at least 28 starts. He went 3-1 with a 1.03 ERA (26.1-IP, 3-ER) in five starts in September, the lowest ERA ever by a Ray for the month. He ranks among all-time franchise leaders in games started (124, fifth), innings pitched (698, sixth), wins (40, tied for sixth) and strikeouts (639, fifth). Over parts of six seasons in the majors, he is 40-38 with a 3.83 ERA (705.1-IP, 300-ER) in 129 appearances (126 starts).

Souza Jr., 28, was honored last season with the Don Zimmer Award (given to the Rays Most Valuable Player) by the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. He hit .239/.351/.459 (125-for-523) and established career highs with 148 games, 78 runs, 125 hits, 21 doubles, 30 home runs, 78 RBI, 84 walks and 16 stolen bases. He became the eighth player in franchise history to reach to 30-homer milestone, joining Evan Longoria (4), Carlos Peña (3), José Canseco, Aubrey Huff, Fred McGriff, Brad Miller and Logan Morrison. His combination of home runs and stolen bases was matched by only four other players in the majors last season and has never been matched in franchise history. Over parts of four seasons in the majors, he has hit .236/.325/.426 (318-for-1,349) with 65 home runs and 169 RBI.

Sucre, 29, spent all of last season on the Rays active roster, his first full season in the majors. He established career highs with seven home runs and 29 RBI, both more than his career totals from 2013-16. He made the Rays Opening Day roster as a non-roster invite to spring training and went on to appear in 62 games and make 50 starts at catcher. Over parts of five seasons in the majors, he has hit .229 (95-for-415) with nine home runs and 49 RBI and has thrown out 28.6 percent (20 of 70) of attempted base stealers.