By Eric Schmidt

Two key Tampa Bay Rays players received a nice pay raise yesterday. SP David Price and CF B.J. Upton both received hefty pay increases while avoiding arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays. Tampa also reached a new deal with newly acquired RP Burke Badenhop.  On Monday, the Rays reached a new one-year deal with RP J.P. Howell worth $1.35 million dollars.

Price, 26, saw his salary increase from $1.25 million in 2011 to $4.35 million for this season. Price saw his win total drop off from the 2010 season last year, but Price has expressed interest to get a long term deal in place with the Tampa Bay Rays. “I love it here, it’s a good place for me to be. As long as I’m here, I’m going to give everything I’ve got. If we can work something out, so be it. If not, it’s part of the business and you just have to take it one day at a time”, Price told reporters when asked about the possibility of staying in Tampa after his one year deal expires.

CF B.J. Upton saw his salary increase from $4.85 million in 2011 to $7 million dollars for 2012. Upton nearly matched his career highs in home runs and runs batted in last season (23 HR-81 RBI) while batting .243. Upton has been the subject of several off-season trade rumors but will likely start the 2012 season in center field for the Rays.

The only Tampa Bay Rays player which remains without a contract in place is SP Jeff Niemann. Neimann earned slightly less than $1 million dollars in 2012 and has asked for a $3.2 million dollar contract while the Rays have countered with an offer of $2.75 million. Neimann posted a 11-7 4.06 with 105 strike outs in 2011.


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