Jeff Loria loses round one in legal battle with Miami over proceeds from Marlins sale

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Last week, the Miami-Dade County government filed a lawsuit against former Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria seeking to recoup proceeds from the sale of the team last October. The lawsuit arose out of an agreement between Loria and Miami-Dade in which, in exchange for them paying for most of the cost of the Marlins new stadium, Miami-Dade would get a cut of the profits if and when Loria sold the team.

Loria, quite questionably, claimed that he made no money on the sale of the club and that, therefore, he didn’t have to may the government anything. Loria bought the team for $158 million and sold it for $1.2 billion, so if you’re going to believe him, you have to believe that there were A LOT of service and convenience charges on that sale. I suppose crazier things have happened — some accountants claims “Star Wars” still hasn’t turned a profit depending on who is owed a cut of the profits — but it’s a pretty sketchy claim.

The first preliminary ruling in the case came down today, and the court sided with Miami-Dade, ruling that Loria breached the agreement insofar as he did not hand over a sufficiently documented justification to Miami-Dade to support his claim of zero profits from the sale. Rather, he just turned over a relatively detail-free five-page summary. That matters, obviously, because Miami-Dade can’t easily rebut Loria’s claim of no profits if he’s not explaining how the deal broke down for him in sufficient detail.

That ruling does not end the case, but it does provide Miami-Dade with more time to build its claim against Loria, which would’ve had a rapidly approaching deadline if Loria had complied with his responsibilities to document his profits, or lack thereof.

Put more simply: Loria was trying to pull a fast one, and the court was not having it. Shocker.

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.