Josh Hamilton: don’t be like Whitney Houston, Mmm-kay?

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Pop quiz, hot shot! You have a sports column due tomorrow and can’t think of a topic. Then, suddenly, a big national story erupts in a world that has absolutely nothing to do with sports.  You feel like it’s just too big a leap to make and you hesitate to try to squeeze a sports story out of it.  But you really need to meet deadline. What do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO?!

Well, if you’re Patrick Rishe from Forbes, you do this:

Days after Mr. Hamilton’s relapse, the Rangers hired Shayne Kelley to essentially play watchdog to ensure that Mr. Hamilton will stay clean going forward.

Perhaps, Mr. Kelley, you should have Mr. Hamilton sit down and read all about the rise and fall of Ms. Houston.  Have him YouTube some of her best performances when she was at the height of her career, and then look-up photos and videos of her during her troubled times. Because this will remind Mr. Hamilton that nothing is forever and that substance abuse destroys.

Look, that’s not the worst intrusion of non-sports tragedy into the world of sports writing we’ve seen — this is, by far — but it’s pretty awful.

But sure, Josh Hamilton. Don’t be like Whitney.  Now that someone has pointed that out to you, I’m sure you’ll be A-OK.

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.