Could the Angels move to a new downtown L.A. ballpark?

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This is fun. And, if you’re the Dodgers or an Angels fan who lives in Orange County, kind of scary: Angels owner Arte Moreno met with the president of AEG, and it at least suggests the possibility that Moreno is investigating moving the Angels to a new ballpark to be built in downtown Los Angeles.

For those who are unaware, AEG owns the Staples Center downtown and is behind the substantial surrounding entertainment/dining/everything development.  Currently they are also the group pushing to build a football stadium down there in order to draw an NFL team.

Bill Shaikin’s report suggests that this could lead to a new ballpark, and notes that Moreno suggested as much as long ago as 2005.  And of course the meeting is notable in and of itself.  The problem, though, is that last year AEG said this when people started talking about the Dodgers moving downtown:

“Under no circumstances are we interested in building a baseball stadium. If you logically just think through playing baseball games in April, May and June when we have Lakers, Clippers and Kings playoff games that are scheduled on a week’s notice. Look at the conflict that would be created during that time. If you logically think through baseball playoff games which are scheduled on a week’s notice and we have Kings, Lakers and Clippers beginning their season, it doesn’t work.”

Obviously people can change their minds about such things, but that was a pretty detailed denial of baseball interest. Why they’d change now is unclear. Maybe because they’d catch less civic hell by luring the Angels up from Anaheim than they would taking the Dodgers out of Chavez Ravine. Maybe because they know something we don’t about the viability of a football stadium downtown and are willing to investigate plan B now.

Or maybe, like any good business, AEG will always take a meeting to listen to things even if it’s not that interested in pursuing the opportunity. Call it the Solozzo principle.  And maybe Moreno is just using the existence of AEG and the possibility of a new stadium to wring some sort of concessions out of the city of Anaheim as the team’s 2016 opt-out window nears.

All worth watching, of course.

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.