MLB officially announces next year’s Yankees-Red Sox series in London

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This has been the worst-kept secret in the world, but this morning Major League Baseball officially announced that the Yankees will meet the Red Sox in London for a two-game regular season series next year.

The will be played on June 29-30 at London Stadium, the site of the 2012 Olympic Games. The Red Sox will be the home team, not that it really matters. Estimated capacity of London Stadium for the series will be 55,000 mostly confused British people. The press release says the stadium will “take on a baseball configuration for the event,” which, well, I would hope so.

The series next year will not be a one-and-done, either. MLB and the London mayor’s office have agreed to a two-year deal that will include another series in London in 2020, with participating teams to be announced. The release notes that “other initiatives that will aim to establish a footprint in the city” will also be scheduled. Here’s hoping it’s not just another Train or Fall Out Boy concert. MLB has gone to that well too many times.

There were obligatory quotes from Rob Manfred, Tony Clark and the team owners, but you’ve heard them a million times. Here’s The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan’s comment:

“I am absolutely delighted that we have secured this historic agreement for Major League Baseball to come to London in 2019 and 2020. All the hard work has paid off. There is no better way to start the London Series and the first Major League Baseball fixture in Europe than a clash between two heavyweights of international sport – the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. This is a major coup demonstrating, once again, that London is the sporting capital of the world and I am excited about a new partnership with MLB and the long term future of this sport in our great city.”

No word if, after he called London “the sporting capital of the world,” a bunch of Boston and New York fans clogged up talk radio to say they were being “disrespected.” But yeah, they probably did.

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.