Klapisch: it’s time to give A-Rod a break

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Alex Rodriguez is batting second today in a spring training game against the Phillies. And one of his most dedicated detractors has declared that the A-Rod bashing should stop now. Bob Klapisch, folks:

Whether you consider him a snake or a victim, a liar or someone who got swallowed up in a self-created jail, it’s time to measure A-Rod anew. It’s time to see him solely as a baseball player again . . . it’s time to let go of Biogenesis and Anthony Bosch and the historically dishonest interview with Mike Francesa. Like the fans who, perhaps, have been softened by the Florida sun, it’s time to let A-Rod breathe . . .  That’s why we should all hit the reset button. The man has paid dearly. He’ll never get into the Hall of Fame. His reputation is ruined forever. But there’s still one chapter left – getting back on the field. It starts today. A-Rod deserves this final shot.

Now, to be sure, there are a lot of jabs in there, like the one about the fans “softened by the Florida sun,” which suggest that Klap still thinks anyone who doesn’t consider A-Rod to be history’s greatest monster is a sap (he actually uses the words “saps” and “rubes”). But it’s still something to see a guy who has gone out of his way to bash A-Rod — even in stories that have literally nothing to do with A-Rod — calling for an end to that and a reset, if you will.

Will he hold to that? Will he truly treat A-Rod like any other ballplayer going forward and offer that “reset?” I don’t know. It’s possible he’ll fall off the wagon at some point. Indeed, it’s to be expected. The key here is to understand that A-Rod Derangement Syndrome is an illness, and that relapse is part of recovery.

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.