Report: Mariners, Phillies discussing trade for Jay Bruce

Jay Bruce
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Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that the Mariners and Phillies are discussing a potential deal involving Seattle outfielder Jay Bruce. At this stage, a deal doesn’t appear to be imminent, nor has the return for Bruce been revealed.

Still, it would be an interesting get for the Phillies, who could use the bench depth and, according to The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, have “had interest in Bruce for years dating back to Mets days.” Gelb adds that Bruce would also give the club another option in left field, which is currently staffed by a combination of Nick Williams and backup outfielders Scott Kingery and Sean Rodríguez.

It’s been several years since Bruce’s “Mets days,” and he doesn’t look exactly like the .250-average, 2.0-fWAR player of seasons past. That’s not to say he’s dealing with career-low numbers, however. Despite a deceptively-low .212/.283/.533 batting line, he’s put up 14 home runs (including no. 300) and a heartening 116 OPS+ across his first 148 plate appearances in 2019.

Should the deal go through, the Phillies are expected to shoulder the bulk of Bruce’s remaining $14 million salary in 2020.

Update, Sunday 10:19 AM EDT: Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia hears that the trade for Jay Bruce is ‘complete.’ Neither team has officially confirmed the deal, nor has the return for Bruce been publicized.

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.