Rays avoid arbitration with eight players

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Tampa, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Rays avoided salary arbitration with all eight of their eligible players Friday, agreeing to terms with pitchers Drew Smyly, Jake McGee, Kevin Jepsen and Alex Cobb, infielder Logan Forsythe, catcher/designated hitter John Jaso, outfielder Desmond Jennings and catcher Rene Rivera on one-year contracts.

Cobb went 10-9 with a 2.87 ERA in 27 starts last year. He is the only American League pitcher with 10-plus wins, a winning record and a sub-3.00 ERA in each of the last two seasons.

Forsythe hit .223 with six home runs and 26 RBI in a career-high 110 games last season, his first with the Rays.

Jaso was acquired via trade from the Oakland Athletics last weekend. In 2014, he batted .264 with nine home runs and 40 RBI in 99 games, including 47 starts, at catcher and 32 starts at designated hitter.

Jennings hit .244 with 10 home runs and 36 RBI in 123 games in 2014, including a team-high 70 starts as the leadoff hitter.

Jepsen was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels last month. He went 0-2 with a career-best 2.63 ERA in 74 games last season.

McGee went 5-2 with a 1.89 ERA and 19 saves in 73 appearances in 2014, setting career highs in saves, ERA, games and innings.

Rivera was acquired from the San Diego Padres last month as part of a three- team, 11-player trade. He had one of the best statistical years of his career in 2014, hitting .252 with 11 homers and 44 RBI in 103 games.

Smyly was acquired by the Rays from the Tigers at last year's trade deadline and made seven starts with Tampa Bay, going 3-1 with a 1.70 ERA. The left- hander went a combined 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA in 28 games (25 starts) last year.

Tampa Bay also signed catcher Mayo Acosta, outfielder Joey Butler, infielder Juan Francisco and pitchers Jhan Marinez and Everett Teaford to minor league contracts with invitations to major league spring training.