Another losing bidder on the Dodgers looks south to San Diego

Steve Cohen Mets offer
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San Diego is a nice alternative to L.A. You get the same — actually better — Southern California weather. It’s a bit cheaper. Way less traffic and hassle. My kids wanted to go to California on vacation this summer and after looking at L.A. stuff for a while I turned my attention south and found it to be way more appealing.

Maybe the tradeoff for owning a baseball team in those parts is not quite as equal, but for those who lost out on the Dodgers, San Diego is becoming a popular destination for their ambitions:

If you can’t buy ’em, beat ’em. That could be the motto for Steven Cohen, the hedge-fund billionaire and runner-up in the bidding for the Dodgers.

The San Diego Padres are up for sale, and Cohen is thought to be one of at least five potential buyers cleared by Major League Baseball to review the team’s confidential financial data.

Former Dodgers owner — who wanted to own them again — Peter O’Malley is already reported to be looking at the Padres.

It’s certainly not the plum that the Dodgers are in terms of revenue, both now and in the future. But at “only” $600 million, you can own the Padres for less than a third of what Magic and friends paid for the boys in blue.

UPDATE: Will Carroll reminds me that Steve Garvey was on his podcast a couple weeks ago and noted that he too is interested in the Padres.

RHP Fairbanks, Rays agree to 3-year, $12 million contract

tampa bay rays
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.