Forsythe gets 2-year deal; Rays agree with 8

Smyly is club's lone player still heading toward arbitration hearing

Forsythe gets 2-year deal; Rays agree with 8

The Rays on Friday signed infielder Logan Forsythe to a two-year contract with a club option for 2018 and agreed to one-year deals with eight other arbitration-eligible players: right-hander Alex Cobb, catcher Hank Conger, outfielders Brandon Guyer and Desmond Jennings, left-hander Jake McGee, first baseman/outfielder Logan Morrison, righty Erasmo Ramirez and catcher Rene Rivera.

The club did not reach an agreement with left-hander Drew Smyly ahead of the deadline. Smyly asked for $3.75 million in arbitration, while the Rays offered $3.2 million. A hearing will be held in February to determine Smyly's 2016 salary if the two sides can't reach an agreement.

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Forsythe had been eligible for arbitration for the second time, after making $1.1 million last season. He still will be on track to potentially reach free agency following the 2017 season, but the Rays now hold an $8.5 million option -- with a $1 million buyout -- for '18, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman. The option has the potential to increase by another $2.5 million, in $500,000 increments, based on plate appearances.

"I always thought I could be an everyday guy, and I never lost sight of that," said Forsythe. "I just knew at some point an opportunity would arise, and it did last year. With help from the staff and teammates, I did what I needed to do to be an everyday guy, and my whole goal was just to be consistent."

According to Heyman's report, Forsythe will get a $2.5 million bonus, earning $1 million this coming season and $5.75 million the next.

"I'm still in shock. I don't think it's actually sunk in quite yet," said Forsythe.

The Rays acquired Forsythe in a trade with the Padres before the 2014 season. The 29-year-old right-handed hitter broke out in '15, batting .281/.359/.444 with 33 doubles, 17 home runs and 68 RBIs over 153 games. He played mostly second base but also spent time at first, third and designated hitter.

"Money aside, it's just the faith the Rays' organization has shown in me to offer me an extension just speaks volumes to my family and I. Just very appreciative," said Forsythe.

Jennings, also in his second year of arbitration, accepted a $3.3 million offer, according to Heyman. Limited by a left knee injury last year, Jennings played 28 games and batted .268 with one homer, seven RBIs and five steals.

Cobb, another second-year-eligible player, will get $4 million according to Heyman. That's identical to his 2015 salary, as Cobb missed the entire season, undergoing Tommy John surgery in May. In 49 starts over the previous two seasons, he went 21-12 with a 2.82 ERA.

McGee and Guyer settled for $4.8 million and $1.185 million, respectively, according to Heyman. Elbow and knee injuries held McGee to 39 games in 2015, but he posted a 2.41 ERA and owns a 2.58 mark since 2012, with 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings and 26 saves.

Guyer enjoyed his best season in 2015, setting career highs in games (128), plate appearances (385), on-base percentage (.359), slugging (.413), OPS (.771), homers (eight), RBIs (28) and steals (10). He spent time at all three outfield positions.

The Rays agreed at $4.2 million with Morrison, $2.375 million with Ramirez, $1.7 million with Rivera and $1.5 million with Conger, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The club acquired Morrison from the Mariners on Nov. 5, after he hit .225/.302/.383 with 17 homers and 54 RBIs for Seattle. The 28-year-old is scheduled to reach free agency after this coming season.

Ramirez came over in a trade with Seattle last March and enjoyed a breakout year, going 11-6 with a 3.75 ERA and a 3.2 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 34 games (27 starts). The 25-year-old allowed two earned runs or fewer in 18 of those outings.

After posting a .751 OPS for the Padres in 2014, Rivera slid back to .489 for the Rays, who picked him up in a three-team deal that also involved Washington. The veteran started 87 games behind the plate and collected five homers and 26 RBIs.

Conger is another new face in Tampa Bay, which acquired the 27-year-old from the Astros in December. In his first year in Houston, he started 56 games behind the plate and batted .229/.311/.448 with a career-best 11 homers and 33 RBIs.

Smyly, 26, has gone 8-3 with a 2.52 ERA and 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings for the Rays since they picked him up from Detroit in the David Price trade at the 2014 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Shoulder problems limited Smyly to 12 starts last season, though nine of those came in August and September after he returned from the disabled list.

Andrew Simon is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.