Francisco Rodriguez open to returning to Mets next season

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Francisco Rodriguez was back in New York last night for the first time since being traded to the Brewers last month. Among other things, he told Matt Ehalt of ESPNNewYork.com that he would be open to returning to the Mets as a free agent.

“Definitely. I understand this is a business, they did what they needed to do and feel what they need to early in the year to trade me, (but) the door is still open,” Rodriguez said. “I’m not the type of person that is going to burn bridges and say, no, I’m not coming this place because they trade me or whatever. I’m open-minded and open to come here to New York once again in the future.”

Rodriguez is in the final guaranteed year of a three-year, $37 million contract. Upon his trade to Milwaukee, his $17.5 million option for 2012 was converted to a mutual option with a $4 million buyout.

K-Rod is just saying what an impending free agent is supposed to say, but this is a highly doubtful scenario. The Mets seem committed to giving the younger, cheaper Bobby Parnell an honest audition as closer and while Sandy Alderson plans to upgrade the bullpen this winter, I see them looking toward low-cost, risk/reward types like Jonathan Broxton. Assuming his right arm is still attached to his body, that is. Haven’t heard from that guy in a while.

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.