Boos continue for Giancarlo Stanton

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Yankees OF/DH Giancarlo Stanton‘s slow start to the 2018 season continued in his first two plate appearances on Tuesday against the Marlins, his former team. In the first inning, with runners on first and second and no outs, Stanton grounded into a 4-3 double play. In the third inning, with runners on first and second and one out, Stanton popped out to second base.

After his second at-bat, Stanton slammed his bat in frustration. Fans at Yankee Stadium, also frustrated, booed him once more, per Nick Stellini of Sporting News and Baseball Prospectus:

Given the strong negative reaction to Stanton thus far this season, one would think Stanton’s numbers are abysmal, but they’re not. He came into Tuesday’s action with a .745 OPS, which is much lower than his .912 career OPS, but certainly passable.

The issue is really the manner in which Stanton is struggling. He’s rarely homering. In fact, he hasn’t homered in nearly two weeks. He’s striking out a ton, including racking up five punch-outs in two separate games, becoming only the third player since 1908 with two or more such games in a season (Ray Lankford had three in 1998; Deron Johnson had two in 1964). Stanton is also coming off a career year in which he led the majors in both home runs and RBI with 59 and 132, respectively. The expectations were high and the owner of baseball’s largest contract has yet to live up to them in baseball’s largest media market.

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.