“Escape 4 the Game”

3 Comments

This is the trailer for what could prove to be a fantastic documentary about a group of Cuban baseball players — including Yunel Escobar — who risked their lives to come to the United States:

The description at the film’s fundraising page:

The story is told through the eyes of Tampa Bay Rays shortstop, Yunel Escobar, with supporting commentary from his childhood friends who joined them on the journey. After a twelve-day plight that included going into hiding and having no contact with the outside world, swimming across crocodile-infested waters, and sailing into the dark of night with only one working motor, the men were only half-way there. A story of courage, strength, and perseverance, Escape 4 the Game will take you on a voyage so many make, yet few survive.

It’s just astounding how much people risk to leave Cuba. And it speaks loudly about the freedoms we have. People risk their lives every day for what we so often take for granted. Mind-blowing.

Probably worth remembering the next time the sports media and fandom start to get on a Cuban ballplayer for allegedly not “respecting the game.” Bah. They’ve known worse than most of us ever will. Maybe now they’re just enjoying themselves doing something that they risked everything to do.

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

tampa bay rays
Dave Nelson/USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

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.