Fred McGriff isn’t having the best couple of months

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The Rays fired the Crime Dog!  Or, probably.

According to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times, the Rays declined to rehire Fred McGriff after the 2010 season for reasons unknown.  He had been working as a special advisor in the community outreach department for a total of four years.

Those roles are usually more celebratory than anything, and his time probably just expired.

But, there’s more bad news on McGriff.

Alexandra Zayas, also of the Times, is reporting that McGriff’s wife Veronica filed for protection against the former ballplayer on January 14, just about three weeks ago.

Veronica McGriff wrote this in the police report:

“I am afraid and scared for my life and well-being.  During the past four months, my husband has been acting very strange. I learned that he secretly forged my signature to transfer our $1-million from a trust. He has stopped talking to me and the only communications he has had with me have been rude, aggressive and violent.”

“I don’t know who he is anymore. … I fear he is going to try to hurt me and I do not feel safe in my home.”

Scary stuff, but it sounds like things have been smoothed over now.  Veronica and Fred agreed to begin marriage counseling on January 31, dismissing the petition and dissolving any potential injunction.  It’s probably not fair to guess, but perhaps the strange behavior was a result of the Rays’ decision to cut McGriff loose.  Whatever the case, things seem to be back on track.

McGriff, now 47, retired after the 2004 season with 493 career home runs and a stellar .284/.377/.509 career batting line.  He was a five-time All-Star and drew MVP votes in eight different seasons.

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.