Maybe the Mets should just release Mike Pelfrey

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Mike Pelfrey gave up eight runs to the Astros (of all teams) on Sunday, taking his spring ERA to 14.90.  In the best of his three starts, he allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings and struck out none versus the Cardinals. Overall, he’s allowed 16 runs, 20 hits and six walks while striking out four in 9 2/3 innings.

Granted, it’s just 9 2/3 innings. But Pelfrey also had a 4.74 ERA last year that included a career-high home run rate and a career-low strikeout rate. He’s now pitched 4 1/2 seasons in the bigs with a 4.40 ERA, and instead of getting better, he appears to be getting worse.

So, maybe the Mets, who are pretty desperate for cash anyway, should just go ahead and cut him. In so doing, they’d recoup three-quarters of his $5.6875 million salary. They lack any great options to replace him, but both Jeremy Hefner and Chris Schwinden have performed well this spring and they might want to look at both before top prospects Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia start beating down the door.

I don’t really expect the Mets to take that step. Only the cash-strapped Wilpons have anything to gain by it, and if they did release one of their more expensive players, they’d be even greater laughing stocks around the league. I don’t expect much from Pelfrey this season, but he’ll probably be a reasonable fourth starter and there’s always the chance he’ll have a season more like his 2010, which would make him pretty valuable trade bait come June or July. But I think that’s a long shot. They probably wouldn’t lose much if they decided to move on.

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.