CC Sabathia opens up about alcohol addiction in column for The Players’ Tribune

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Last October, just as the Yankees were set to face the Astros in the American League Wild Card game, starter CC Sabathia checked into an alcohol rehabilitation center. It took the baseball world by surprise as Sabathia had been pitching well after being activated from the disabled list.

Sabathia is back with the Yankees and feeling pretty good going into the upcoming regular season. He opened up about his addiction to alcohol in a column at The Players’ Tribune and it truly is a must-read. Sabathia describes alcohol addiction as a multifaceted problem. Sometimes you’re not even aware of your problem, despite other people trying to tell you. Then you need to want to get help, which he didn’t for a while. He cites former pitcher Bob Welch, who also battled alcohol addiction, as a source of information while he was in rehab.

Sabathia, 35, is not guaranteed a spot in the Yankees’ rotation. He is battling Ivan Nova for the fifth and final spot. The lefty said he found a knee brace that feels good, which may explain his improved performance at the end of last season. Sabathia has an aggregate 4.81 ERA over the last three seasons, but he still has a lot of people around baseball rooting for a rebound.

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.