UPDATE: Torii Hunter handed four-game suspension

2 Comments

UPDATE: According to Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times, Hunter originally intended to appeal the suspension, however he changed his mind after conferring with his agent, Angels manager Mike Scioscia and general manager Tony Reagins.

“The more you think about it, the more you watch it, that’s not me and I really let that guy push my buttons, and I
shouldn’t have let it come to that. I apologize to the fans and to the
kids out there and to my kids.”

“I was terrible yesterday. I threw balls on the field, I said some
things I wish I wouldn’t have said and you have to pay the price for it.
That’s what I’m going to do.”

7:04 PM: Torii Hunter was handed a four-game suspension for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Ron Kulpa during Friday night’s game against the Tigers, tweets Victor Rojas.

Hunter, who will not appeal, will begin serving the suspension tonight.

Hunter was visibly unhappy with a high strike call during an at-bat in the eighth inning of last night’s game. After eventually striking out looking on a pitch in the lower part of the zone, Hunter lost his cool and looked to have bumped Kulpa with his helmet. Hunter was then separated from Kulpa by Mike Scioscia, who was also ejected from the game. Before leaving the dugout, Hunter launched a bucket of baseballs onto the field. He later told reporters that Kulpa was “being a drama queen” about the whole thing.

I’m waiting for a bunch of columnists to question Hunter’s leadership here, but let’s be honest, the Angels are out of this thing already. 

Jeffrey Springs, Rays agree to $31 million, 4-year contract

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Left-hander Jeffrey Springs became the first of the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration salaries with their teams to reach a deal, agreeing Wednesday to a $31 million, four-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year old was among seven Rays who swapped arbitration figures with the team on Jan. 13. He began last season in the bullpen, transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts. He is 14-6 with a 2.70 ERA in 76 outings – 51 of them in relief – since he was acquired from Boston in February 2021.

Springs gets $4 million this year, $5.25 million in 2024 and $10.5 million in each of the following two seasons. Tampa Bay has a $15 million option for 2027 with a $750,000 buyout.

The 2025 and 2026 salaries can escalate by up to $3.75 million each based on innings in 2023-24 combined: $1.5 million for 300, $1 million for 325, $750,000 for 350 and $500,000 for 375. The `25 and ’26 salaries also can escalate based on finish in Cy Young Award voting in `23 and ’24: $2 million for winning, $1.5 million for finishing second through fifth in the voting and $250,000 for finishing sixth through 10th.

Tampa Bay’s option price could escalate based on Cy Young voting in 2025 and 2026: by $2.5 million for winning, $2 million for finishing second through fifth and $500,000 for sixth through 10th.

Springs would get $45.25 million if the option is exercised, $52.75 million with the option and meeting all innings targets and the maximum if he meetings the innings targets and wins two Cy Youngs.

Springs’ ERA last season was the second lowest in franchise history for a pitcher working a minimum of 100 innings. Former Rays ace Blake Snell compiled 1.89 ERA on the way to winning the 2018 AL Cy Young.

In addition to finishing sixth in the AL in ERA, Springs allowed three runs or fewer in 22 of 25 starts and two runs or fewer 17 times. He joined Tampa Bay’s rotation on May 9, gradually increasing his workload over his next six appearances. Springs was 6-3 with a 2.40 ERA in 14 starts after the All-Star break.

Arbitration hearings start next week and the Rays remain with the most players scheduled to appear before three-person panels.

Springs had asked for a raise from $947,500 to $3.55 million and had been offered $2.7 million. Tampa remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam, Pete Fairbanks and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.

Tampa Bay also agreed minor league contacts with catcher Gavin Collins and right-hander Jaime Schultz, who will report to major league spring training.

Infielder Austin Shenton and pitchers Anthony Molina and Joe LaSorsa also were invited to big league spring training.