Kiermaier, 8 other Rays avoid arbitration with 1-year deals

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Defensive whiz Kevin Kiermaier was among nine players who agreed to one-year contracts with the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday to avoid salary arbitration.

Kiermaier agreed to a deal for $2,975,000. He made $514,400 last season while winning his second straight AL Gold Glove Award in center field.

The Rays also agreed to give substantial raises to infielder Brad Miller and outfielder Corey Dickerson. Miller agreed to a $3,575,000, one-year deal and Dickerson got a $3,025,000, one-year contract after both made just more than the league minimum in 2016.

Tampa Bay also agreed on one-year contracts with infielder Tim Beckham, starting pitcher Alex Cobb and relievers Brad Boxberger, Xavier Cedeno, Danny Farquhar and Erasmo Ramirez.

The only arbitration-eligible Rays player to not agree to a deal is starter Jake Odorizzi, who asked for $4.1 million and got an offer from Tampa Bay for $3,825,000.

Rays executive Chaim Bloom said the team was not discouraged by failing to come to terms with Odorizzi, the only member of last season’s starting rotation to finish with a winning record. The 26-year-old went 10-6 with a 3.69 ERA in 33 starts, including 7-1 with a 2.71 ERA after the All-Star break.

Kiermaier missed 48 games in the middle of the season with a broken left hand. He had a .246 average, 12 homers, 37 RBIs and a career-best 21 stolen bases.

Dickerson and Miller were acquired in trades last winter and combined to hit 54 homers. Miller had a career-high 30 homers in 152 games after only slugging 29 in 343 games before his arrival in Tampa Bay. Dickerson made $522,900 in 2016, and Miller made $527,600.

Beckham got a raise from $514,500 to $885,000. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft started games at all four infield positions while appearing in 64 contests over two stints with the Rays last season.

Cobb got a $200,000 bump to $4.2 million after missing most of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He had the surgery in May 2015 and returned in September to make five starts, going 1-2 with an 8.59 ERA.

Boxberger will make $1.6 million and Cedeno will get $1.3 million after each made just more than the league minimum last season. Boxberger was limited to 27 appearances in 2016 due to injuries a season after leading the AL with 41 saves. Cedeno made 54 appearances last season before being sidelined in the final month due to neck stiffness. He was 3-4 with a 3.70 ERA in 41 innings.

Farquhar was acquired last winter in the same trade with Seattle that brought over Miller. He got a bump to $900,000 after making $527,000 last season, when he appeared in 35 games.

Ramirez agreed to a $3,215,000 deal after making $2,375,000 in 2016. He made 63 of his team-high 64 appearances out of the bullpen, going 7-11 with a 3.77 ERA.

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