A-Rod: “That year off I just had to f—ing change and stop being a jerk”

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There’s a big story about Alex Rodriguez in the Hollywood Reporter. You know the story by now: after becoming baseball’s biggest pariah, A-Rod came back with a new attitude, had one nice season and then bowed out on his terms and with shocking popularity. Now he’s on TV all the time, running a business, dating J.Lo and gets better press than just about anyone with his history has a right to expect.

What’s the secret? Pretty simple, actually:

“It’s probably too soon for me to say this, but maybe in 10 years I’ll be able to say that the ‘ ’14 sabbatical’ was one of the best things that happened in my life,” he says. When I ask if he doesn’t believe that already, he adds, “I’ll say this: That year off I just had to f*****g change and stop being a jerk . . . When I came back [after the suspension], I wanted to be a different person.”

We can never know what athletes and entertainers are really like, but as far as we can discern that sort of thing, A-Rod has made himself into a different person. At the very least, he was never good at maintaining an act very long when he was younger, so I’m comfortable assuming that this is not an act now. The guy seems genuinely comfortable and happy and self-aware in ways he never was before his famous time out.

Beyond all of that, if you’re interested in knowing how A-Rod spends his days now it’s a pretty good article.

 

 

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.