What’s on Tap: Previewing Wednesday’s afternoon action

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Back in the day they used to call weekday day games “businessmen’s specials.” The idea being that some Don Draper-type might take the afternoon off from work and take in a ballgame. Or use the ballgame as an excuse, telling Betty Draper he’d be there while he was really at that Greenwich Village apartment with the beatnik greeting card artist woman who ended up being strung out on H or whatever happened later on. That was first season stuff, so I forget. You get the idea, though.

We don’t call them “businessmen’s specials” anymore because it’s 2016 and a lot has changed. Women being taken seriously as an important part of the workforce is the obvious one, but I think it’s also because the idea of a “businessman” is inherently ridiculous. Remember those “Kids in the Hall” sketches where literally the only joke was that things like “businessmen” exist? I couldn’t take that word seriously anymore after that, even if Skip Caray kept using the term well into the 1990s.

Anyway, we have a few day games today. They’re not businessmen specials. Let’s call them “work from home people’s distractions.” Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Miami Marlins (Tom Koehler) @ Philadelphia Phillies (Jeremy Hellickson), 1:05 PM EDT, Citizens Bank Park

Minnesota Twins (Ricky Nolasco) @ Detroit Tigers (Justin Verlander), 1:10 PM EDT, Comerica Park

Boston Red Sox (Steven Wright) @ Kansas City Royals (Ian Kennedy), 2:15 PM EDT, Kauffman Stadium

Texas Rangers (Martin Perez) @ Oakland Athletics (Rich Hill), 3:35 PM EDT, Oakland Coliseum

Hold my calls, Peggy.

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.