Jonathan Papelbon blows save, gets ejected for making rude gesture at booing crowd


Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon and the home crowd in Philadelphia haven’t always gotten along, which is why the right-hander wasn’t spared boos when he blew a three-run lead in the top of the ninth in Sunday afternoon’s 5-4 loss to the Marlins. Papelbon allowed four runs on four hits and a walk. It’s only the fifth time in his career, spanning 591 games, in which Papelbon has allowed four runs or more, and the first such occurrence as a Phillie.

When Papelbon walked off of the mound after finally ending the ninth inning, the fans at Citizens Bank Park rained boos down on him, even though he has had another dynamite season. Papelbon then appeared to make a rude gesture involving his groin, for which second base umpire Joe West ejected him. You can see video here and make your own call. Papelbon maintains he was simply adjusting himself, per Jason Wolf of Delaware Online.

It will be interesting to see if Papelbon is fined, as it’s tough to infer his intentions through video. Papelbon may have plausible deniability on his side.

Papelbon now has a 2.10 ERA with 37 saves in 41 chances and a 61/15 K/BB ratio in 63 1/3 innings.

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

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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.