Rivera would keep Boone, says earlier remarks out of context

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
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Mariano Rivera says he would keep Aaron Boone as the New York Yankees’ manager and that remarks he made earlier this week were taken out of context.

The Hall of Fame reliever told The Associated Press on Thursday that he was speaking generically about teams and managers when he answered questions Tuesday during a videoconference session with Panamanian business executives.

“I said when a team like this, the New York Yankees, is expected to win, the season that they had, and they don’t make it to the end, always the manager is the one that always ends up paying,” Rivera said during a telephone interview with the AP.

“Although the manager doesn’t hit, the manager doesn’t pitch, the manager doesn’t run, the manager doesn’t do nothing but manage and make sure everybody’s ready to play, unfortunately they never fire the whole team, they always fire the manager,” he said. “I was giving a generic estimation. And obviously they took it out of context.”

Rivera said he does not advocate for a manager switch: “I don’t have to change. Who I am to say?”

During Tuesday’s videoconference, a recording of which was posted online by ESPN, Rivera said in Spanish: “If I’m the owner, he wouldn’t stay. … Obviously all blame points at the manager, but players also have to do their job. … Sometimes when things don’t come out the way we want them to be, the blame falls on the manager. And someone has to pay for the blame, the players won’t get fired. The manager is the one that always gets fired. You try to do something to try fix things.”

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said Wednesday he plans to have Boone return for a sixth season as manager.

Rivera retired after the 2013 season and a 19-year big-league career, all with the Yankees.

He said he was asked three questions, the first involved whether Aaron Judge should stay with the Yankees and the second whether Judge should become captain, the first since Derek Jeter.

“I’m a Yankee for life and he should be a Yankee,” Rivera said. “He has to make it own decision. But if it was me, I want him on my team. And then captain, that’s a privilege that you have to earn. And I remember when they named Derek captain of the team, we all were content with in the news, but at the same time it’s a lot a work. Thank God that we were there for Derek to help him.”


RHP Fairbanks, Rays agree to 3-year, $12 million contract

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Dave Nelson/USA TODAY Sports

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.