ST. PETERSBURG -- Tampa Bay exchanged figures on Tuesday with the team's five remaining arbitration-eligible players -- first baseman Travis Lee; pitchers Casey Fossum, Jesus Colome and Travis Harper; and catcher Josh Paul. Lee, who returned to the Rays last year after playing for the Yankees in 2004, asked for $2.9 million, and Tampa Bay offered $2 million. Lee played in 129 games last season and recorded a .272 average, 12 home runs and 49 RBIs. He made $1.35 million in 2005. Fossum, who started in the bullpen last season but found his way into the rotation by May, asked for $2.375 million, and the Rays offered $1.7 million. Fossum went 8-12 last season with a 4.95 ERA, and made $950,000.
Colome, who made $600,000 last season, asked for $850,000, and the Rays offered $700,000. Travis Harper made $745,000 in 2005 and asked for $900,000 -- the Rays offered $800,000. Paul, acquired in a trade with the Angels in December, asked for $750,000, while the Rays offered $475,000. He made $450,000 in 2005. Arbitration hearings are scheduled for February, but the Rays and the players can settle on contracts prior to then. Tampa Bay avoided arbitration with starter Mark Hendrickson on Monday, signing the left-hander to a one-year, $1.95 million deal.
Thomas Simonetti is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.