Braves could non-tender Matt Adams

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Braves first baseman Matt Adams is entering his third and final year of arbitration eligibility. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman suggests the club could consider non-tendering him if he can’t be traded ahead of Friday’s 8 PM ET arbitration decision deadline.

Adams, 29, filled in admirably for the Braves — coming over from the Cardinals — at first base after Freddie Freeman fractured his wrist. He hit .271/.315/.543 with 19 home runs and 58 RBI in 314 plate appearances. Obviously, with Freeman expected to be fully healthy for spring training, Adams is now the odd man out. He can play in the outfield, but his defense leaves a lot to be desired — he’s still just a 1B/DH type.

Adams is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $4.6 million in arbitration this offseason. The Braves already have nearly $98 million committed for the 2018 season, so paying close to $5 million for a bench player wouldn’t be the most optimal use of resources.

Given how obvious it is that Adams doesn’t fit on the Braves, teams interested in his bat will likely wait to see if the Braves do non-tender him. In that case, Adams would become a free agent and would be had for cash alone, as opposed to minor leaguers sent in a trade.

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.