Kirk Gibson is going to work for the Tigers while broadcasting their games

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Kirk Gibson has been a part-time broadcaster for Tigers telecasts on Fox Sports Detroit for the past couple of seasons. This year he has been hired full time, replacing the fired Rod Allen as the top analyst for Tigers games (he’ll split time with Jack Morris).

But, as of today, that’s not Gibson’s only job: Jason Beck reports that the Tigers are hiring him as a special assistant to general manager Al Avila. Beck says he’ll “assist in on-field duties in Detroit and minors, and will be involved in all personnel meetings.”

I know we’re way past the point where we pretend that baseball announcers are somehow objective. Heck, maybe we were never even at that point. The broadcasters may not be employed by the teams whose games they call anymore, but most of them tend to have clear sympathies for them and refrain from criticizing players harshly if at all. It’s a pretty cozy relationship.

But it does this not seem to be something of a conflict of interest to you? No, I’m not suggesting that a baseball analyst should hold themselves up to Woodward and Bernstein-level ethical standards, but does this not impact the way Gibson might approach his job? What if Gibson is at one of those personnel meetings and finds out that his boss is trying to shop a player on the trade market? Aside from simply knowing that and not saying something, can he even properly analyze him? What if he discloses — or declines to disclose — a weakness he sees in the guy’s swing or pitching motion? There are a lot of things a front office might not want to have said about a player and the front office now has authority over a guy Fox Sports Detroit is paying to say insightful things about players.

I don’t imagine many people will squawk about this — and I do not think that a TV broadcaster is all that stands between us and some Great Important Truths — but this just seems like a pretty basic conflict of interest to me. I’m surprised that the Tigers and Fox Sports Detroit are fine with it.

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.