Report: Brewers talks with Craig Kimbrel ‘pretty serious’

Craig Kimbrel
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Last night it was reported that the Brewers have been in discussions with free-agent reliever Craig Kimbrel. A few minutes ago Jon Heyman reported that the talks are “pretty serious.” No word if this rumor comes from his best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend who heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with a girl who saw Kimbrel on the phone with David Stearns at 31 Flavors last night.

Assuming it’s legit — and it sounds it, as it was initially reported by Ken Rosenthal and Robert Murray who tend to get these things right — it’d be a pretty major coup for the Brewers should the talks bear fruit. They already have one of the best bullpens in baseball, featuring All-Stars Jeremy Jeffress, Corey Knebel, and Josh Hader. This year’s addition of Alex Claudio gives them more depth. Putting Kimbrel into that mix would put some serious pressure on Brewers’ opponents to not fall behind early, that’s for sure.

Kimbrel experienced some control issues last year but remained one of the most dominant relievers in the game, registering 42 saves with a 2.74 ERA, 4.5 BB/9, and 13.9 SO/9 through 62.1 innings in 2018.

That he has not signed before now is perceived to be a function of his steep asking price. With Opening Day looming, however, it’s quite possible that has come down considerably and that Brewers are poised to sign an ace reliever for a song.

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.