Marlins will address stadium name change and TV deal in 2017

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Marlins’ president David Samson has a lot left on his to-do list this year.

During the club’s annual FanFest at Marlins Park on Saturday, Samson discussed some of the key decisions that face the team over the next several months. One item on their agenda is a potential naming rights deal. Per MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, Samson has narrowed the list of candidates to three, though he’s still seeking some clarity as he makes his final selection:

There’s still three companies, and we cannot figure out which direction we’re going to go in. I still want to get it done before the All-Star Game. It’s such a long-term decision. I don’t want to make the wrong one.

The Marlins are also considering a revision to their TV contract before the 2018 season. Their partnership with FOX isn’t set to expire until 2020, and Samson believes that it’s already failed to bring in adequate revenue.

He’s not wrong. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the club entered the 2016 season with one of the lowest payrolls among major league teams, hampered in large part by the annual $20 million sum they received from FOX Sports. Jackson reports that it was “the lowest of any cable contract in baseball,” while proposed negotiations to raise the Marlins’ rights fee led nowhere.

Things are a little different as the Marlins look to the 2017 season — for one thing, player payroll is back up over $100 million, and there have been strong rumors that a new owner is on the brink of acquiring the club. How this will affect their plans for a new TV deal remains to be seen. In additional comments made on Saturday, Samson said the current arrangement was “no fault of anybody’s but mine,” though it seems likely that the Marlins would take their business elsewhere if they can’t agree to a more profitable extension with FOX in the future.

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.