Tyler Naquin goes to 1st-place Mets from last-place Reds

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Tyler Naquin went to the first-place Mets from the last-place Reds and was on the bench for  series opener at Miami.

New York acquired the left-handed-hitting outfielder and lefty reliever Phillip Diehl in a deal for two teenage minor leaguers, outfielder Hector Rodriguez and right-hander Jose Acuna.

“It’s fun, exciting news. It’s been a whirlwind the last couple of hours,” Naquin said. “We have a good ballclub. It’s cool to look forward to that.”

Naquin, a first-round draft pick 10 years ago, was batting .246 with seven homers and 33 RBIs in 56 games for the Reds. He homered and drove in two runs Thursday afternoon in a 7-6 loss to the Marlins.

“Whatever they need, just take it day by day, and wherever I fit in,” Naquin said.

Outfielder Travis Jankowski was designated for assignment by the Mets, who also recalled left-hander Sam Clay and right-hander Stephen Nogosek from Syracuse and optioned left-hander David Peterson to the Triple-A farm team.

Naquin was drafted 15th overall by Cleveland in 2012 and made his major league debut in 2016, finishing third in AL Rookie of the Year voting after posting an .886 OPS in 116 games. While in Cleveland, he was teammates with current Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco.

Beset by injuries throughout his career, Naquin signed with Cincinnati as a free agent in February 2021 and batted .270 last year with career highs of 19 homers, 70 RBIs and 127 games.

He entered Thursday a .269 career hitter with a .774 OPS in 507 games over seven seasons with Cleveland and Cincinnati. He had an .805 career OPS against right-handers, including an .811 mark this year.

“He’s a guy that can play all three outfield positions, good defender, good thrower, runs the bases,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “He brings some things that all clubs need. Just another piece that we can maneuver and present a tough lineup.”

Naquin has a $4,025,000 salary and is eligible for free agency after the season. His acquisition pushed New York’s luxury tax payroll above $290 million, the new fourth tax level named after free-spending Mets owner Steve Cohen.

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.