Britton and Jansen win Reliever of the Year Awards

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Orioles’ left-hander Zach Britton and Dodgers’ right-hander Kenley Jansen received accolades as the AL and NL Relievers of the Year during a ceremony preceding Game 4 of the World Series.

The 2016 awards ceremony represents just the third year in which MLB has recognized the top bullpen arms in each respective league. From 2005 to 2013, one outstanding relief pitcher was selected for the Delivery Man of the Year Award, with previous winners including 2013 nominee Craig Kimbrel and three-time winner Mariano Rivera. Since 2014, the NL winner has been presented with the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award, while the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award goes to the best AL relief pitcher.

Britton was a force to be reckoned with in 2016, logging 67 innings for the Orioles with an 0.54 ERA, 74 strikeouts and 47 saves. His ERA ranks lowest among any Reliever of the Year winner to date, eclipsing even Fernando Rodney‘s mark of 0.60 during the 2012 season. He also set a new record for the lowest ERA among any pitcher with at least 50 innings pitched in a single season.

Jansen converted 47 saves for the Dodgers alongside a 1.83 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 68 2/3 innings. His strikeout-to-walk ratio of 9.45 was the highest among MLB relievers in both leagues, and his second-half 0.70 WHIP and 10.60 K/BB rate were instrumental as the Dodgers chased their fourth consecutive NL West championship.

President of The Hartford and award sponsor Doug Elliot helped Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred deliver the awards on Saturday evening, and had this to say about the two relievers:

Congratulations to Zach Britton and Kenley Jansen for their outstanding performances this season. Zach and Kenley consistently deliver for their teams during the biggest moments of a game. At The Hartford, we are committed to doing the same for our customers by ensuring they prevail when the unexpected happens.

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.