Evan Longoria thinks it’s unfair that A-Rod gets to play pending his appeal

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Rays third baseman Evan Longoria was on SI’s Hot Clicks podcast and was asked about Alex Rodriguez’s suspension. He opined that, in general, 50 games is insufficient for PED cheats. He’s obviously not alone in that, and it wouldn’t be at all surprising if MLB and the union revisited the PED penalty rubric soon.

But he is also upset that A-Rod’s appeal is taking so long to happen and that, in the meantime, Rodriguez will get to play:

“I don’t know what his motivation is, but I will say this: I don’t think it’s fair for the other teams because I’m in the American League East. Whether he is 100 percent or not, whether his mind is where it needs to be or not, he can affect the game in a positive way, he can affect the game in a tremendous way, which is being in the lineup. In a pennant race, he’s a guy you don’t want in the lineup. Looking at it from that perspective and that perspective only, I don’t think it’s fair that we can’t have an arbitrator hear the case sooner.”

It’s a tough case with lots of witnesses and evidence so I’m not sure how, given that the decision came down just the other day, baseball could hold the arbitration any sooner. Now, if Longoria is less upset about the timing than he is about the fact that a guy can play pending appeal, he’ll have to take that up with his union. I feel like once he did he’d change his public stance on that.

As for the Yankees advantage: I feel like it’s nothing the Ray need to worry too much about.

Rays’ Yandy Díaz gets three-year, $24 million deal to avoid arbitration

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Tampa Bay Rays infielder Yandy Díaz agreed to a three-year, $24 million contract that avoided a salary arbitration hearing.

Díaz’s agreement could be worth $36 million over four seasons.

The 31-year old will receive $6 million this season, $8 million in 2024 and $10 million for 2025. The 2026 club is $12 million with no buyout. There is a $1 million assignment bonus that would be payable by receiving team.

Díaz has spent parts of six seasons in the majors with Cleveland (2017-18) and Tampa Bay (2019-22). He has a career average of .278 with 39 home runs and 198 RBIs.

Acquired by the Rays in a three-team trade on Dec. 13, 2018, Díaz hit .296 with nine homers and 57 RBIs in 137 games last season, He career highs with 71 runs, 140 hits, 33 doubles, and 78 walks.

Díaz was the third Rays’ arbitration-eligible player to reach a deal.

Reliever Pete Fairbanks agreed Friday to a $12 million, three-year contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons. The 29-year-old right-hander 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.

Left-hander Jeffrey Springs also agreed last week to a $31 million, four-year contract that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year-old began last season in the bullpen and transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, and outfielder Harold Ramírez.