Cardinals demote Mitchell Boggs to Triple-A, call up prospect Carlos Martinez

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Mitchell Boggs has gone from taking over for Jason Motte as the Cardinals’ fill-in closer to being demoted to Triple-A.

The final straw came last night, as Boggs walked the only two batters he faced to give him more walks (12) than strikeouts (10) and 31 total baserunners allowed in 10.2 innings overall this season. Last year Boggs threw 73 innings with a 2.21 ERA and he had a combined 3.08 ERA in 201 innings from 2010-2012. Boggs actually went from fill-in closer to Triple-A demotion within the span of three weeks in 2011, although his struggles weren’t nearly as lengthy or pronounced back then.

To take Boggs’ spot on the roster and in the bullpen the Cardinals called up 21-year-old right-hander Carlos Martinez, who’ll be getting his first taste of the big leagues after ranking among the top-50 prospects by both Baseball America and MLB.com heading into the season. Martinez has been a starter throughout his minor-league career, posting a 2.74 ERA and 277 strikeouts in 260 innings, but he’ll be used out of the bullpen initially in St. Louis to give manager Mike Matheny another setup option in front of Edward Mujica and Trevor Rosenthal.

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.