HBT Weekend Wrapup

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I needed this weekend wrapup more than usual because I’ve really been out of baseball circulation the past couple of days. My folks took my kids out to the lake on Saturday, so Mrs. Shyster and I had a nice lunch, took in a movie, did a little aimless wandering and then had a nice dinner. Yesterday we had my boy’s fifth birthday party. Over both days I was on an Internet detox regimen that, while not a total blackout, was about as unplugged as I ever get. When you spend as much time in front of a screen as I do you just gotta do that sometimes.

The upshot: I didn’t watch an inning of baseball all weekend, and really didn’t pay attention to what the hell was going on. Thank goodness, then, for D.J. and Drew who documented that which needed to be documented and allowed me to catch up quite nicely this morning. The highlights:

  • Nick Swisher hit a walkoff single on the night the Yankees paid tribute to The Boss. I’m glad this event managed to bring some attention to Steinbrenner’s passing, because I was worried that people were completely missing it.
  • I’m sure a bunch of people heard about Yogi Berra falling down and thought “Oh noes! These things come in threes!”  I had breakfast with my personal mystic this morning, however, and she tells me that Yogi will not form the trio with Sheppard and Steinbrenner. She was insistent, however, that I cancel my bowling date with Joe Pepitone next Thursday.
  • Matt Kemp isn’t being dealt. Of course, the only reason we’re obligated to mention this is because someone ridiculously suggested that he was going to get dealt.

The movie, by the way, was “Inception,” which I liked a great deal. The only thing I don’t like about it is that it will likely make a lot of money and will thereby cause movie studios to try and cash in with copycat psychological thrillers, all of which will almost certainly be muddled disasters because they won’t be written and directed by Chris Nolan.

Anyway, back to baseball for me.  Let’s get on with our week.

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.