Odorizzi prevails in arbitration case

Odorizzi prevails in arbitration case

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Jake Odorizzi won his arbitration case with the Rays, which means he'll make the $4.1 million salary for 2017 he felt like he was worth rather than the $3.825 million the Rays were offering.

"We just felt like what my value was didn't match what the figure was before the agreement, and that was the turning point about going to arbitration," Odorizzi said. "And it turns out we fought a good fight and won. It's just nice to have it all done and over with and in the past. Now it's officially baseball season and we can focus on things as a team."

Odorizzi's case was heard Monday in St. Petersburg.

"[I'm] kind of overjoyed," Odorizzi said. "It's just a process where you never know which way it can go, even if you feel good about it. Sometimes arbitrators don't feel so good about it. It's good to get the verdict.

"We worked really hard on the case and worked really hard the three or four seasons leading up to it. So I think it's the culmination of a lot of hard work over the years, and then from my agency's standpoint, they've been working their [rear ends] off. So it's good to get a win."

Odorizzi put together one of the best second halves of any starter in the American League last season by going 7-1 with a 2.71 ERA after the All-Star break. The right-hander went 10-6 with a 3.69 ERA for the season, making him the only member of the starting rotation with a winning record.

The Rays are now 6-2 in arbitration hearings since principal owner Stu Sternberg's group assumed control of the team following the 2005 season. Until Odorizzi, Drew Smyly was the lone arbitration victor after winning in 2016.

When asked about hearing negative comments from the club, Odorizzi noted that the Rays were "pretty gentle with me, to be honest."

"I've heard some stories about what some teams say," Odorizzi said. "But there wasn't anything I hold against anybody. There wasn't any insults or anything. It's a weird process. They're fighting for the number that they want and so are we. So you hear what you do really well, and you hear what you don't do really well.

"I'm a good self-evaluator, so the stuff I heard wasn't anything new to me. I said beforehand I wouldn't hold any grudges and I'll hold true to that. I'm fine with everything that went on in that room."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.