Free Freddie Freeman!

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The Braves’ apparent move to get Derrek Lee means that, no, they have no intention of calling up first base prospect Freddie Freeman.  Which is regrettable, because all he’s doing is hitting .308/.369/.510 down in AAA and, if I had to guess, would perform better than either Troy Glaus or Derrek Lee down the stretch.

But sadly, that’s just not how Bobby Cox and the Braves roll. Sure, he’ll start the season with a rookie if he’s an undeniable force like Jason Heyward, but (a) in a pennant race; and (b) when there are at least other plausible options available like Lee, Bobby Cox just isn’t wired to hand over the starting job to a rookie like Freeman.

You take what you get with Bobby Cox. There are better tactical managers than him, but you give it up in exchange for the calm clubhouse he creates. I’m not sure what we as Braves fans get in exchange for his seeming mistrust of kids like Freeman, but this late in the game there’s no amount of whining on our part that’s going to change his mind.

Rays’ Díaz gets $24 million, three-year deal, avoids arbitration

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Tampa Bay Rays infielder Yandy Díaz agreed to a $24 million, three-year contract on Tuesday that avoided a salary arbitration hearing.

Díaz’s agreement could be worth $36 million over four seasons.

The 31-year old will receive $6 million this season, $8 million in 2024 and $10 million for 2025. The 2026 club is $12 million with no buyout. There is a $1 million assignment bonus that would be payable by receiving team.

Díaz has spent parts of six seasons in the majors with Cleveland (2017-18) and Tampa Bay (2019-22). He has a career average of .278 with 39 home runs and 198 RBIs.

Acquired by the Rays in a three-team trade on Dec. 13, 2018, Díaz hit .296 with nine homers and 57 RBIs in 137 games last season, He career highs with 71 runs, 140 hits, 33 doubles, and 78 walks.

Díaz was the third Rays’ arbitration-eligible player to reach a deal.

Reliever Pete Fairbanks agreed Friday to a $12 million, three-year contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons. The 29-year-old right-hander 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.

Left-hander Jeffrey Springs also agreed last week to a $31 million, four-year contract that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year-old began last season in the bullpen and transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, and outfielder Harold Ramírez.