Pace-of-play experiments in the Arizona Fall League are frustrating some players


As we noted before, the Arizona Fall League is being used to test various pace-of-play initiatives. Among them: a 20-second clock for pitchers, shorter breaks between innings and limiting mound visits.

One of those — the pitch clock — is flummoxing some players. From Baseball America:

“I feel like it’s going to throw off the rhythm because guys have their own rhythm and take deep breaths, practice swings, have their routines. It’s just going to make everybody so generic and I feel like that’s taking away what the game has been all about for however many years.”

Los Angeles Dodgers prospect and Glendale Desert Dogs infielder Corey Seager shares a similar sentiment.

“It’s tough,” Seager said. “You almost feel rushed. It’s not your normal (routine) where you can take your time, get your rhythm. It’s kind of on somebody else’s rhythm. It was a little rushed … getting on and off the field, getting your stuff done in the dugout and in the box mainly because you only have 20 seconds between pitches. You swing and then get right back in—it’s a little weird.”

Well, tough.

Guys didn’t seem to have any problem “executing pitches” until some time in the late 80s or so, when the pace of each pitch started to grind down. Until around then, the idea of “don’t think, it’ll only hurt the ballclub” held a bit more sway. Maybe it needs to again. For the most part, the routines and habits and rhythms guys have now only exist because they’ve been allowed to exist, not because they are essential to the playing of baseball in the 21st century or anything like that. Once those habits are no longer allowed to exist, they will change and players will adjust.


Mound visit limits are a bigger problem, players say. But it may be a bigger problem in the Fall League, as the catchers and pitchers don’t know each other very well. At least one prospect says it shouldn’t be a problem in the regular season.

In any event, there is no question that the changes will be weird for a while. And that’s the whole point of experimenting with them in the low-leverage world of the Fall League. Here’s hoping everyone gets used to it and that Major League Baseball doesn’t pay too much concern to the minor inconveniences to the players that result.


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

tampa bay rays
Dave Nelson/USA TODAY Sports

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.