ST. PETERSBURG, FL — The Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to a one-year contracts and avoided arbitration with pitchers Burke Badenhop, J.P. Howell and David Price and center fielder B.J. Upton.
Badenhop, who turns 29 on February 8, 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.
Howell, 28, will earn $1.35 million. The left-handed reliever returned to the Rays in 2011 after missing the entire 2010 season due to left shoulder surgery. He was reinstated from the disabled list on May 20 and then spent the rest of the season in the majors, making 46 appearances out of the bullpen and posting a 2-3 record and 6.16 ERA (30.2-IP, 21-ER). In five seasons with the Rays, he has compiled a 4.21 ERA and 279 strikeouts.
Price, 26, will earn $4.35 million. The Rays Opening Day starter in 2011 went 12-13 with a 3.49 ERA (224.1-IP, 87-ER) in a team-high 34 starts last year and earned his second All-Star selection. He 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.
Upton, 27, will earn $7 million. The center fielder 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.