St. Petersburg, Florida - The Tampa Bay Rays and four of its players have agreed to one-year contracts, avoiding arbitration.
Starting pitcher David Price will earn $4.35 million. Last season he went 12-13 with a 3.49 ERA (224.1-IP, 87-ER) in a team-high 34 starts, and earned his second All-Star selection.
Price ranked fifth in the AL in strikeouts (218), ninth in innings pitched (224.1) and eighth in opponents' batting average (.230) and held lefties to a .171 average (36-for-210), lowest among major league starters. In four seasons with the Rays, he is 41-26 with a 3.38 ERA.
Center Fielder B.J. Upton will earn $7 million. Upton hit 23 home runs with 36 stolen bases last year, numbers matched by only two other major league players: the Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp (39-HR, 40-SB) and Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury (32-HR, 39-SB).
He is the longest-tenured member of the Rays roster, with one more day of service time than James Shields.
Left-handed reliever J.P. Howell's contract is worth $1.35 million and could go up to $1.4 million based on incentives. Howell, 28, returned to play last season after missing 2010 due to shoulder surgery in May of that year.
Over 46 games, he went 2-3 with a 6.16 earned run average. In 212 career games, including 33 starts, Howell has gone 20-23 with 21 saves and a 4.62 earned-run average.
Finally, pitcher Burke Badenhop will earn $1.075 million. In 2011 he went 2-3 with a 4.10 ERA (63.2-IP, 29-ER) in 50 relief appearances for the Florida Marlins. From the time of his May 7 call-up through the end of the season, the righthander led Marlins relievers with 63.2 innings pitched.
He was acquired by the Rays from the Marlins in exchange for catcher Jake Jefferies on December 12.
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