Report: Players to get a full year of service time for games played in 2020

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that Major League Baseball and the MLBPA have reached a tentative agreement in which all players who remain active throughout the coming season, whatever its length, will receive a full year of service time.

There is not an agreement about how much service time the players would receive if the pandemic leads to the cancellation of the entire season. Rosenthal says that, “both sides desire to play as many games as possible in 2020,” and that they have tabled discussion of what to do in case no games are played.” Hoping for the best, it seems.

The sides continue to talk about what to do about money. As we discussed last week, the uniform player contract, which contains all of the boilerplate applicable to every player, specifically allows teams to suspend contracts during a “national emergency.” Rosenthal says that the league, however, has not taken that aggressive a stance, and at one point offered a lump-sum advance of around $150 million to be paid to players on 40-man rosters, which breaks down to something north of $125,000 per player. The league’s proposal provides that players would keep their advance money even if the season resumes, but the league wants an agreement from players that they would not come back and sue for their full salaries later. As he said, talks continue.

There is still no word about a possible schedule. The league is following CDC recommendations that advise against gatherings of 50 or more people before May 10. Some sources inside baseball have said that it would take about a month for the league to gear back up to being game-ready, so the earliest one can imagine games taking place is mid-June. Rosenthal says that, in light of that, players and owners are discussing are talking about scheduled doubleheaders, the reduction of days off, and the extension of the regular season past its currently-scheduled final day of September 27.

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.