Jake Arrieta will “plead my case” if Gabe Kapler tries to pull him early

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New Phillies starter Jake Arrieta is scheduled to make his 2018 season debut on Sunday when the club wraps up its home opening series against the Marlins. Arrieta inked a three-year, $75 million contract with the Phillies last month. Because he signed so late, he is just a bit behind which is why he’s getting a slightly late start to the regular season.

Manager Gabe Kapler has been a lightning rod for controversy in his first week. One such controversy occurred on Opening Day, when he removed Aaron Nola — the de facto ace of the starting rotation — after just 68 pitches. Nola didn’t try to argue with Kapler to stay in the game longer. Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia asked if Arrieta would be willing to speak up in order to keep himself in the game. Arrieta said, “Yeah, absolutely. If it’s done smartly, for sure. We pitch one out of every five days so if there’s an extra 20 pitches in there that we can give our team then we want to do that. So, yeah, I’m always trying to plead my base.”

Arrieta also said of managers’ quick hooks, “I think a lot of that, you’ve got to use the eye test. If a guy is rolling then you may extend him a little bit longer and if you have high-stress innings, one or multiple, then you kind of reevaluate and go from there. But I think you’ve got to watch the game and see how it unfolds and if you’re cruising then you would obviously like to continue to stay out there, but it’s tough to plead your case if you’re struggling to stay in the game. So it just depends on how the game unfolds and how things progress, but if I’m rolling I intend to be out there for quite a while.”

Last season, Arrieta went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings.

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.