Omar Vizquel may have hit himself into the Hall of Fame last night

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Omar Vizquel headshot.jpgAs I mentioned in the recaps, Omar Vizquel tied Luis Aparicio for the second most hits by a shortstop last night, notching his 2,674th career safety.* Unless
there’s either an unfortunate bus accident or a fortunate Fountain of Youth accident he won’t catch Jeter, who is 108 hits ahead at the moment and will quite obviously be playing this game after Vizquel retires. And yes, I know what you’re thinking, but Honus Wagner and Cal Ripken got a ton of their hits while playing other positions, so they don’t count for this particular record.

First off, congratulations to Vizquel, who is by all accounts a nice guy that many, many people like an awful lot. Especially in Cleveland where, between his brilliance at short and the fact that he angered Jose Mesa all those years ago means that Omar will never have to buy himself a beer when he’s in town, and that counts for something.

Second of all, I can’t help but wonder if this little accomplishment won’t be enough to get Vizquel into the Hall of Fame. I’m not saying he
necessarily deserves it. I’m wary in fact, and think that, despite all the leather and the longevity he’s simply a member of the Hall of Really Good.

But I do think that between him being a glove guy in a hitter’s era and the Luis Aparicio synchronicities — sharing the homeland, the number and now the hits — the voters will look kindly on him one
day. Maybe too kindly. Kind of an anti-steroids protest vote and a nostalgic vote all wrapped up into one.  I think they’ve been talking themselves into it for a couple of years now, and having a milestone like this — even if he ends up being only second place on that particular list — may be tangible enough foothold with which the writers can gain purchase on this particular quest.

Which wouldn’t be the largest injustice on the planet or anything — I’m not sure where Vizquel stands on the numbers, but I’m guessing he wouldn’t be the worst Hall of Famer if that indeed comes to pass. But he’d be far, far from the best too, and with guys like Alan Trammell on the outside looking in, it would irk me in a non-insignificant way.

*As is the case with “Chisox” and “Bosox,” safety is one of those baseball terms you never see anymore. Used to be on the back of baseball cards all the time, but I can’t recall using “safety” for “hit” in ages.  Let’s all try to bring that one back, shall we?

RHP Fairbanks, Rays agree to 3-year, $12 million contract

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Dave Nelson/USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Reliever Pete Fairbanks and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided arbitration when they agreed Friday to a three-year, $12 million contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons.

The deal includes salaries of $3,666,666 this year and $3,666,667 in each of the next two seasons. The Rays have a $7 million option for 2026 with a $1 million buyout.

His 2024 and 2025 salaries could increase by $300,000 each based on games finished in the previous season: $150,000 each for 35 and 40.

Tampa Bay’s option price could increase by up to $6 million, including $4 million for appearances: $1 million each for 60 and 70 in 2025; $500,000 for 125 from 2023-25 and $1 million each for 135, 150 and 165 from 2023-25. The option price could increase by $2 million for games finished in 2025: $500,000 each for 25, 30, 35 and 40.

Fairbanks also has a $500,000 award bonus for winning the Hoffman/Rivera reliever of the year award and $200,000 for finishing second or third.

The 29-year-old right-hander is 11-10 with a 2.98 ERA and 15 saves in 111 appearances, with all but two of the outings coming out of the bullpen since being acquired by the Rays from the Texas Rangers in July 2019.

Fairbanks was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Fairbanks made his 2022 debut on July 17 and tied for the team lead with eight saves despite being sidelined more than three months. In addition, he is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 12 career postseason appearances, all with Tampa Bay.

He had asked for a raise from $714,400 to $1.9 million when proposed arbitration salaries were exchanged Jan. 13, and the Rays had offered for $1.5 million.

Fairbanks’ agreement was announced two days after left-hander Jeffrey Springs agreed to a $31 million, four-year contract with Tampa Bay that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.