Two members of my family and Manny Acta agree: Indians prospect Drew Pomeranz looks good

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My uncle and cousin spent the past week in Arizona checking out a bunch of spring training games–they didn’t arrive until after Craig had gone home, just to be safe–and sent me a slew of text messages while watching Indians prospect Drew Pomeranz pitch Sunday.

My uncle, a high school baseball coach, and my cousin, a high school pitcher, both said Pomeranz was the most impressive young pitcher they saw, which isn’t surprising for the No. 5 overall pick in last June’s draft.

They raved about his “devastating” fastball-curveball combination–which Jordan Bastian of MLB.com wrote a good article about today–and wondered if the 6-foot-5 left-hander might make it to the majors this season, which is probably a stretch considering he’s 22 years old and hasn’t even officially made his pro debut after signing too late to join a minor-league team last year.

Bastian writes that Pomeranz is likely to begin the season at Single-A and “could be fitted for an Indians uniform as early as 2012.” In addition to various members of my family, Indians manager Manny Acta has also been very impressed with Pomeranz early in camp, telling Bastian: “When you’re that talented you can make it look that easy. He’s got a very nice arm and he’s effortless. That ball just sneaks up on hitters.”

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.