Lineups will go to commissioner’s office first before being made public

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Peter Gammons reports that, per MLB’s gambling deal with MGM Resorts International, each team’s lineup will first have to go to the commissioner’s office rather than the team’s own public relations office or to the media. MLB and MGM announced a partnership back in November. This development is presumably so MGM can set lines before everyone else gets access to the lineups. In the past, lineups have typically been posted a few hours before game time and sent out on social media by beat writers and/or the team.

According to Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, lineups must be submitted to MLB for review at least 15 minutes before being released to the press and public. The league is citing integrity as the reasoning for that. In a statement, the league said, “We are updating a number of our procedures to reduce integrity risks associated with the expansion of sports betting in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling last May. One new procedure is that we now ask clubs to submit starting lineups in a uniform fashion in order to reduce the risk of confidential information being ‘tipped.'”

Gammons quoted an unnamed manager who said about the new lineup rule, “I’m really bothered by this.” As he should be. As should the other 29 managers across the league.

As with everything, this is mostly about money. Vegas will have first crack at lineup information, running their numbers — which takes hardly any time — in order to create lines that have the highest likelihood of generating them the most profit. I don’t believe the league is being disingenuous about integrity, but I do think it’s secondary to keeping their new business partner happy. This is yet another way in which the on-field product is being diminished. The league and its individual teams have diversified their revenue streams enough that the actual on-field product doesn’t have nearly as much importance as it did even just a decade ago. Money is being generated from alternative avenues like real estate, digital media, and now gambling.

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.