Drew Smyly requested $3.75 million and was offered $3.2 million from the Rays’ front office when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That is a relatively small gap, but sometimes those small gaps are the hardest to close because neither side sees reason to budge.
Which is how we got to our first salary arbitration hearing of 2016 …
The two sides presented their cases in Phoenix, Arizona to arbitrators Elizabeth Neumeier, Andrew Strongin, and Phillip LaPorte. Teams like to avoid having to make those presentations because they can get personal and hurt feelings. That’s the nature of this system — an organization must argue why it doesn’t think one of its players deserves as much money as that player desires.
Smyly missed a large chunk of the 2015 season with a labrum tear in his left shoulder, but he posted a cool 3.11 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 77 strikeouts in 66 2/3 innings (12 starts) when healthy. The 26-year-old left-hander boasts a 2.52 ERA in 114 1/3 innings since being traded from Detroit to Tampa Bay in mid-2014.
Smyly was eligible for arbitration for the second time as a Super Two.
He is under contractual control with the Rays through 2018.