Report: Blue Jays have discussed a trade for OF Jay Bruce

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The Blue Jays could be interested in bringing Mets’ right fielder Jay Bruce aboard, according to a report by ESPN’s Jim Bowden.

After batting .265/.316/.559 with 25 homers for the Reds through the first half of the season, the 29-year-old came to the Mets in a trade for Cincinnati left-hander Max Wotell and infielder Dilson Herrera. He experienced a sharp decline in the second half and finished the year with a batting line of .219/.294/.391 and eight home runs in 187 PA with the Mets.

This isn’t the first time the Blue Jays have attempted a deal for the outfielder. Back in February, the club was reportedly working on a three-team deal that would have sent Michael Saunders to the Angels, Bruce to the Jays, and several Angels and Jays prospects to the Reds. When an issue arose with one of the Blue Jays’ prospects, discussions were tabled and the deal was nixed.

Bowden didn’t reveal a possible return for Bruce, but noted that the club would like to use him in a left-handed platoon with outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. He is expected to receive $13 million in the final year of his contract.

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.