Rays sign Michael Wacha to 1-year, $3 million deal

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The American League champion Tampa Bay Rays signed right-hander Michael Wacha to a $3 million, one-year contract on Friday to fill a void in the rotation with the departure of Charlie Morton.

The 29-year old Wacha has a 60-43 record with a 4.01 ERA over eight seasons. After seven years with the St. Louis Cardinals, he went went 1-4 with a 6.62 ERA with the New York Mets in 2020.

Wacha is 4-2 with a 3.34 ERA in six career postseason starts, five coming as a rookie in 2013 when the Cardinals won the National League pennant. He was a National League All-Star in 2015.

Morton signed a a $15 million, one-year contract with the Atlanta Braves last month after Tampa Bay declined his $15 million option. The 37-year-old joined the Rays in 2019 and helped Tampa Bay reach the playoffs the past two seasons. The right-hander was 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA during this year’s postseason.

The signing also comes one day after the Rays announced that right-hander Brent Honeywell had arthroscopic elbow surgery that is not expected to affect his 2021 season.

Wacha was drafted 19th overall by St. Louis out of Texas A&M with one of two compensatory picks the Cardinals received from losing Albert Pujols as a free agent to the Los Angeles Angels.

NOTES: The Rays have agreed to terms with RHP Chris Ellis on a minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training.

Rays’ Díaz gets $24 million, three-year deal, avoids arbitration

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Tampa Bay Rays infielder Yandy Díaz agreed to a $24 million, three-year contract on Tuesday that avoided a salary arbitration hearing.

Díaz’s agreement could be worth $36 million over four seasons.

The 31-year old will receive $6 million this season, $8 million in 2024 and $10 million for 2025. The 2026 club is $12 million with no buyout. There is a $1 million assignment bonus that would be payable by receiving team.

Díaz has spent parts of six seasons in the majors with Cleveland (2017-18) and Tampa Bay (2019-22). He has a career average of .278 with 39 home runs and 198 RBIs.

Acquired by the Rays in a three-team trade on Dec. 13, 2018, Díaz hit .296 with nine homers and 57 RBIs in 137 games last season, He career highs with 71 runs, 140 hits, 33 doubles, and 78 walks.

Díaz was the third Rays’ arbitration-eligible player to reach a deal.

Reliever Pete Fairbanks agreed Friday to a $12 million, three-year contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons. The 29-year-old right-hander 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.

Left-hander Jeffrey Springs also agreed last week to a $31 million, four-year contract that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year-old began last season in the bullpen and transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, and outfielder Harold Ramírez.