Colin Poche has a torn UCL, may need Tommy John surgery

Colin Poche torn UCL
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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Rays reliever Colin Poche has been diagnosed with a torn ulncar collateral ligament (UCL) and has been recommended to undergo Tommy John surgery. Whether he elects surgery or rehab, Poche’s 2020 season is over. If Poche goes under the knife, he will miss most if not all of the 2021 season as well.

Poche, 26, posted an unimpressive 4.70 ERA over 51 2/3 innings of relief last season. However, he struck out 72 batters against only 19 walks. The lefty is also an extreme fly ball pitcher. Among qualified relievers, his 62.4% fly ball rate was the highest in the majors. Poche also ranked 20th of 158 qualified relievers in pop-up rate at 16.2%. This made him a common breakout candidate for the 2020 season.

Poche was in the middle of the Rays‘ bullpen depth chart with Nick Anderson likely to get the bulk of the save chances. Diego Castillo and José Alvarado will also see some save opportunities as the situations call. The Rays will also have Chaz Roe, Oliver Drake, Pete Fairbanks, Andrew Kittredge, Aaron Loup, John Curtiss, and Ryan Thompson working out of the ‘pen in various roles.

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.