Rays agree to terms with eight players for 2015; Invite five to Major League Spring Training

The Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to terms for the 2015 season with all eight of their arbitration-eligible players: right-handed pitcher Alex Cobb, infielder Logan Forsythe, catcher/designated hitter John Jaso, outfielder Desmond Jennings, right-handed pitcher Kevin Jepsen, left-handed pitcher Jake McGee, catcher Rene Rivera and left-handed pitcher Drew Smyly.

Cobb, 27, went 10-9 with a 2.87 ERA (166.1-IP, 53-ER) in 27 starts in 2014. He is the only American League pitcher with 10-plus wins, a winning record and a sub-3.00 ERA in each of the last two seasons. In four seasons with the Rays, he is 35-23 with a 3.21 ERA, which ranks second in club history (min. 300 IP).

Forsythe, who turned 28 on Wednesday, played in a career-high 110 games in 2014, his first season with the Rays. He hit .223 (67-for-301) and tied career highs with six home runs and 26 RBI.

Jaso, 31, was acquired via trade last weekend from the Oakland Athletics. In 2014, he batted .264 (81-for-307) with nine home runs and 40 RBI in 99 games, including 47 starts at catcher and 32 starts at designated hitter.

Jennings, 28, hit .244 (117-for-479) with 10 home runs and 36 RBI in 123 games in 2014, including a team-high 70 starts at leadoff. He is one of seven players in the majors to reach double-digit homers and stolen bases in each of the last four seasons.

Jepsen, 30, was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels last month. He had a career-best 2.63 ERA (65-IP, 19-ER) for the Angels in 2014, establishing career highs in appearances (74, fourth in the American League), innings pitched and strikeouts (75).

McGee, 28, went 5-2 with a 1.89 ERA (71.1-IP, 15-ER) and 19 saves in 73 appearances in 2014, setting career highs in saves, ERA, games and innings. He ranked among the AL's top 10 relievers in appearances (tied for fifth), strikeouts (90, seventh) and ERA (ninth).

Rivera, 31, was acquired from the San Diego Padres last month as part of a three-team, 11-player trade-the largest in Rays history. He made a career-high 85 starts at catcher for the Padres in 2014 and set career marks in virtually every offensive category, including games (103), hits (74), doubles (18), home runs (11), RBI (44), batting average (.252), on-base percentage (.319) and slugging percentage (.432).

Smyly, 25, was acquired hours before the July 31 trade deadline and made seven starts after joining the Rays, going 3-1 with a 1.70 ERA (47.2-IP, 9-ER). He allowed three runs or fewer in all seven starts, establishing a club record to begin a Rays career.

In addition, the Rays have signed five players to minor league contracts, each with an invitation to major league spring training: catcher Mayo Acosta, outfielder Joey Butler, infielder Juan Francisco, right-handed pitcher Jhan Mariñez and left-handed pitcher Everett Teaford.

Acosta, 27, has thrown out 39.9 percent (183-of-459) of attempted base stealers in his eight-year minor league career. He spent the 2014 season with Triple-A Durham, appearing in 30 games. He played in 28 games for Toros del Este of the Dominican Winter League, throwing out 10 of 20 attempted base stealers.

Butler, 28, has spent parts of the last two seasons in the major leagues, appearing in a combined 14 games with the St. Louis Cardinals (2014) and Texas Rangers (2013). In 2014, he hit .360 (31-for-86) with four home runs and 20 RBI in 31 games for Triple-A Memphis, appeared in six games with the Cardinals and had his contract sold to the Orix Buffaloes of the Japanese Nippon Professional Baseball League. In seven career minor league seasons, he owns a .293 batting average, .379 on-base percentage, 76 home runs and 375 RBI.

Francisco, 27, hit .220 (63-for-287) with 16 home runs, 43 RBI and a career-high .456 slugging percentage in 106 games with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2014. He hit a home run every 17.9 at-bats, which ranked 12th in the AL among players with at least 250 at-bats. The left-handed batter made 75 of his 82 starts against right-handed pitching, hitting .238 (58-for-244) with a .306 on-base percentage and 15 homers against righties. Francisco is a career .248/.310/.476 hitter with 47 home runs against right-handers, compared to .159/.213/.210 with one homer against left-handers. Over parts of six major league seasons, he has hit .236 with 48 home runs and 152 RBI.

Mariñez, 26, has made six appearances at the major league level with the Chicago White Sox (2012) and Florida Marlins (2010). He split the 2014 season between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Detroit Tigers organization, going a combined 8-3 with a 6.69 ERA (40.1-IP, 30-ER) and 46 strikeouts between the Double-A and Triple-A levels. Over parts of nine minor league seasons, he is 24-24 with a 4.36 ERA and has averaged 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings.

Teaford, 30, has spent parts of three seasons (2011-13) in the major leagues with the Kansas City Royals, going 3-5 with a 4.25 ERA (106-IP, 50-ER) in 45 appearances (eight starts). He played for Korea's LG Twins in 2014, going 5-6 with a 5.24 ERA (99.2-IP, 58-ER) in 20 games (19 starts). In nine minor league seasons in the Royals organization, he went 59-41 with a 3.96 ERA in 199 appearances (138 starts).