Yankees, Mariners agree to Jesus Montero-for-Michael Pineda swap

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UPDATE: Greg Johns of MLB.com was told by a team source that the Mariners are sending Michael Pineda and 19-year-old right-hander Jose Campos to the Yankees for Jesus Montero and right-hander Hector Noesi.

It’s easy to say the Mariners should have just signed Prince Fielder and kept Pineda, but perhaps this was an acknowledgement that it was never a realistic possibility. Safeco Field is one of the worst stadiums in baseball for right-handed hitters, but the 22-year-old Montero at least has power to the opposite field. He will presumably be the primary designated hitter in Seattle, though it’s possible they could try him behind the plate.

Pineda, who turns 23 next Wednesday, posted a 3.74 ERA and 173/55 K/BB ratio over 171 innings as a rookie with the Mariners last season. This included a 2.92 ERA at home and a 4.40 ERA on the road. Still, the Yankees now have yet another cheap, young pitcher with upside to put behind ace CC Sabathia for the next few years. Campos, who had a 2.32 ERA and 85/13 K/BB ratio over 81 1/3 innings at Low-A last season, is yet another option down the road.

Montero was projected to the Yankees’ designated hitter this season, so it will be interesting to see where Brian Cashman turns in the next few days. With Alex Rodriguez likely to need more DH time over the next few years, do they go for a short-term solution like Johnny Damon or Carlos Pena? Or do they intensify their pursuit for Yoenis Cespedes or perhaps even make a play Prince Fielder? Interesting times.

7:42 PM: According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Mariners have indeed acquired Jesus Montero from the Yankees for Michael Pineda. He adds that there are additional players in the deal. Wow.

7:30 PM: Here’s a juicy one.

According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, the Mariners are moving closer to a trade  for a “young impact hitter.” No word on who they might be talking to, but Crasnick was told that it’s a “significant trade” and that closer Brandon League is not going in the other direction.

Nothing confirmed here, but Larry Stone of the Seattle Times is hearing rumblings that the Mariners could be sending young right-hander Michael Pineda to the Yankees for Jesus Montero.

That would be a doozy. Stay tuned.

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.