Upton avoids arbitration with Rays

Upton avoids arbitration with Rays

Upton avoids arbitration with Rays
ST. PETERSBURG -- B.J. Upton and the Rays have officially reached an agreement on a one-year deal for $4.825 million, which means they will avoid going to arbitration.

Upton's signing leaves right-hander Andy Sonnanstine as the team's lone arbitration-eligible player.

Upton was the only Rays player whose case was decided by an arbitration panel in 2010, and he lost. After seeking a contract of $3.3 million for the season, he was awarded $3 million.

The center fielder hit .237 with 18 home runs, 62 RBIs and 42 stolen bases in 2010.

Sonnanstine, who made $416,900 in 2010, is eligible for arbitration for the first time. The right-hander went 3-1 with a 4.44 ERA in 41 games, including four starts, last season.

Players with fewer than six years of service time are eligible for salary arbitration if they do not have a contract for the next season. They must have been tendered a contract offer by their current team by the tender deadline and they cannot agree on a new contract with their team.

In addition, these players must have either been on a Major League roster or disabled list for at least three years, or they must have at least two years of Major League service, but less than three, and be among the top 17 percent for cumulative playing time in the Major Leagues in this class of players. The latter must also have been on an active Major League roster for at least 86 days in the previous season.

The arbitration filing period ended on Saturday, and salary arbitration figures must be exchanged by both sides prior to Tuesday; salary arbitration hearings take place from Feb. 1-21.

While teams can continue to negotiate with a player right up until their arbitration hearings, the Rays' self-imposed policy is to conclude their negotiating by the numbers filing deadline. The club's exception to this post-filing numbers deadline is to negotiate a multiyear deal.

Tampa Bay remains unbeaten in five salary arbitration cases, and under the current Rays regime, the team is unbeaten in four cases, with two of those going against former catcher Josh Paul, one going against Upton and one against Dioner Navarro.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.