Rob Manfred says MLB will re-evaluate fan safety

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In the wake of last Friday’s incident at Fenway Park, fan safety is naturally on the minds of a lot of people right now. Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke about the issue prior to tonight’s First-Year Player Draft and told Tim Britton of the Providence Journal that MLB will re-evaluate where they stand.

“Obviously the first and most important thing to say is we’re all concerned about the long-term well-being of the woman that was injured. That’s the most important issue,” Manfred said before Monday night’s First-Year Player Draft in Secaucus. “From Major League Baseball’s perspective, when you have an incident like this, you have to go back and re-evaluate where you are on all of your safety issues. Trust me, we will do that — just like we are on a variety of issues right now at the beginning of my tenure. It’s important not to lose sight of the fact that we have taken important steps in this area. Bat safety is much improved from where it was a few years ago. We spent a lot of time, effort and money to make sure that our bats are safer and we have lessened these incidents.”

According to a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal over the weekend, players requested additional protective netting during negotiations for the last two collective bargaining agreements in 2007 and 2012. However, their proposal — which included extending netting down the foul lines and even to the foul poles — was rejected by owners. Asked specifically about the possibility of additional netting in MLB stadiums, Manfred said “there’s a variety of issues we’re going to take a fresh look at.”

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.