Report: MLB investigating abuse allegations against Derek Norris by his ex-fiancée

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that Major League Baseball is investigating abuse allegations against Rays catcher Derek Norris made by his ex-fiancée, Kristen Eck, in an Instagram post. As Crasnick notes, Eck didn’t refer to him by name, but she did an interview with MLB Network two years ago in which she was identified as his fiancée.

In the post, Eck wrote that she “was physically and emotionally abused by this beautiful man.” Later on in the post, she wrote, “When I left, he and his family made sure I had nothing.”

Norris, 28, signed a one-year, $1.2 million contract with the Rays near the end of spring training. So far this season, he has hit a poor .194/.256/.326 in 160 plate appearances.

Commissioner Rob Manfred has increased punishment for players alleged of domestic abuse. Last year, former Braves outfielder Hector Olivera was suspended 82 games, then-Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes got a 52-game suspension, and Aroldis Chapman got 30 games. Jeurys Familia served a 15-game suspension to start the 2017 season for his incident earlier this year. Punishments levied by Major League Baseball are not dependent on a criminal conviction.

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.