Mike Cameron signs one-day “employment contract” to retire with Mariners

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After signing a minor league contract with the Nationals over the winter, Mike Cameron announced in February that he planned to retire. However, he is going out as a Mariner.

Cameron, who spent four seasons with the club, signed a one-day employment contract to officially retire with the Mariners. The announcement was made before he threw out of the ceremonial first pitch to former teammate Ichiro Suzuki in last night’s home opener against the Athletics.

Cameron was acquired by the Mariners in February of 2000 in the trade that sent Ken Griffey, Jr. to the Reds. Despite the immense pressure of replacing a franchise icon in center field, he told Josh Liebeskind of MLB.com that he always felt comfortable in Seattle.

“The days that I played here and the opportunity that I got to replace a legend, and the fact that the people kind of took hold and took shape of me and kind of walked me through everything and gave me the opportunity to really start my career off right, this is basically where I want to finish,” Cameron said.

Wildly underappreciated because of his low batting averages and high strikeout totals, Cameron was a three-time Gold Glove award winner and one-time All-Star. He is one of only 21 players who accumulated at least 250 home runs and 250 stolen bases in their career.

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.