Scott Boras on Kris Bryant not making Cubs’ roster: “Do they really want to win here?”

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Cubs third base prospect Kris Bryant has six home runs in nine Cactus League games this spring. He’s produced a 1.804 OPS and 30 total bases in 26 plate appearances. And yet the 23-year-old is not going to be on the Opening Day roster for a team that hasn’t won a World Series title since 1908 because the Cubs pretty much have to play the service time game.

If the Cubs hold off on promoting Bryant until April 17, they can delay his potential free agency an extra year — from 2020 to 2021. A whole year of control for an easy 10-game delay. It’s a no-brainer.

But that isn’t sitting well with one biased party — Bryant’s agent, Scott Boras. He put out a challenge to the Cubs on Tuesday as part of a “30-minute rant” to Bob Nightengale of USA Today

“You are damaging the ethics and brand of Major League Baseball,” Boras said. “Kris Bryant has extraordinary skills. Kris Bryant is a superstar. He has distinguished himself from all players at every level he’s played.

“Everybody in baseball is saying he’s a major-league player ready for the big leagues. I have players call me. Executives call me. The Cubs’ people want him there. Everyone says, ‘They cannot send this guy down.’ It’s too obvious.

“This isn’t a system choice. This isn’t a mandate. This is a flat ownership decision. Do they really want to win here?”

Bryant batted .325/.438/.661 with 43 home runs and 110 RBI in 138 games last season between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa. He’s ready. But if the Cubs think Bryant is going to be a star — like Boras and everybody else does — the only move under the current system is to get that extra year. There’s still a big pot at the end of the rainbow for Boras and his client. Ben Badler of Baseball America put it succinctly

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.