Kris Bryant named 2016 National League Most Valuable Player

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Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant has been named the 2016 National League Most Valuable Player by the Baseball Writers Association of America. He is the first member of the Cubs to win the award since Sammy Sosa in 1998.

Bryant, 24, had an outstanding follow up to his 2015 campaign for which he won the NL Rookie of the Year Award. This past season, he hit .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs and 102 RBI while leading the league with 121 runs scored across 699 plate appearances.

Though the balloting for awards was done prior to the start of the postseason, it’s worth noting how productive Bryant was in helping the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the playoffs, he hit .308/.400/.523 with five doubles, nine walks, three home runs, eight RBI, 11 runs scored in 75 plate appearances.

Bryant received 29 of 30 first-place votes. Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy finished second in balloting — and got the only other first-place vote — followed by Dodgers rookie shortstop Corey Seager. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo was fourth and Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado was fifth.

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.