Another Marlins positive test brings the total to 16 players, two staff

Another Marlins positive
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Ken Rosenthal reports of another Marlins positive test. Yes, another player has tested positive for COVID-19. That brings the total number of players who have tested positive to 16. Two coaches/staff members in the traveling party have also tested positive, making it 18 in all.

As was reported yesterday, the Marlins schedule has been suspended until at least Monday. One wonders, however, if they will even be able to field a competitive team by then. Over at Baseball America this morning, Kyle Glaser wrote about how most observers believe that the Marlins’ top prospects aren’t ready for the majors yet and that there aren’t enough veterans on the 60-man expanded roster that can plausible fill holes at what passes for a major league product. They may, however, be forced up anyway.

Which is to say that, in light of yet another Marlins positive, to the extent the Marlins are able to field a team it may cause serious competitive integrity issues. The sort which Rob Manfred said would specifically guide his decisions with respect to continuing the season in the event of outbreaks. To wit, he said this earlier this month:

I don’t have a firm number of days in mind (to pause the season). I think the way that I think about it is in the vein of competitive integrity, in a 60-game season. If we have a team or two that’s really decimated with a number of people who had the virus and can’t play for any significant period of time, it could have a real impact on the competition and we’d have to think very, very hard about what we’re doing.

We have that exact situation now.

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.