Mets sell 12 minority shares of team, repay loans to MLB and Bank of America

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This is a good day for the Mets’ owners.

Less than 12 hours after learning that the Wilpons and Saul Katz reached a settlement out of court to pay $162 million to trustee Irving Picard in the Bernie Madoff case, Teri Thompson and Michael O’Keeffe of the New York Daily News are reporting that the Mets’ owners have closed those long-awaited deals to sell 12 minority shares in the team. Additionally, they have repaid their $25 million loan to MLB, a $40 million loan to Bank of America and additional club debt.

The minority shares are worth $20 million each. The total of $240 million is expected to cover the team’s operating costs during the 2012 season. Two of the shares are going to the Wilpons and Katz while another four are going to SNY, their partnered cable network. The only other known investor is hedge fund manager Steve Cohen, who is considered one of the frontrunners to buy the Dodgers.

I suppose it’s not surprising that this news came out on the same day as the settlement, as the Wilpons and Katz want to put this whole mess behind them and look like a solvent ownership group as soon as possible. Whether this is a positive development for the franchise or Mets fans in the long-term is up for debate, but the PR campaign is in full effect.

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.