The nerdiest baseball article you’ll ever see. Ever. Really.

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Because I often drop references to Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, comics and other similar fare, I get accused of being a nerd from time to time.  It’s OK. I own it. Not gonna run away from that because I am who I am and I’m OK with that.

But if you ever thought to call me the biggest nerd writing about baseball, I would humbly ask that you go read Larry Granillo’s latest Wezen-Ball installment over at Baseball Prospectus, in which he breaks down — really breaks down — the baseball aspects of the 1998 “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” episode which featured a baseball game called “Take Me Out to the Holosuite.” If you haven’t seen it, the Deep Space Nine crew — the “Niners” — takes on a team of Vulcans called the “Logicians.” Here’s lar:

First Base – Worf
At first-glance, another fairly easy choice. As Sisko reminds his team early on, there are only two players on the squad who the Vulcans are not stronger than: Worf, the Klingon warrior, is one. Assuming he has the power of a corner-infielder, it makes sense for the biggest, strongest player on the team to play first. However, it is also well-established that Worf is a tremendous athlete and can run rather well. He is not Adam Dunn. Considering his overall athleticism and strong arm, a rightfield assignment would make more sense …

And yes, it goes on and on like that. It’s pretty glorious, actually.

But really, thank God Larry is already married, because I fear having this article tied to him for the rest of eternity wouldn’t do him any favors with the ladies.

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

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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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.