Cleveland’s Chris Antonetti voted MLB Executive of the Year

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LAS VEGAS — Cleveland Guardians President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti was voted Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year after his young team won the AL Central with a $68 million payroll that was 27th among the 30 teams.

Cleveland went 92-70 while using 17 players who made their major league debuts. The youngest team in the postseason, the Guardians lost a five-game Division Series to the New York Yankees.

Antonetti, 47, has been in charge of Cleveland’s baseball operations as general manager from 2011-15 and president of baseball operations since October 2015.

A 1996 graduate of Georgetown with a master’s degree from Massachusetts in business administration, Antonetti started in MLB as a Montreal Expos intern in 1997 and became assistant director of player development that November. He joined Cleveland in 1999 and became assistant general manager three years later.

In voting conducted by major league clubs before the postseason, Atlanta Braves president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos was second and Seattle Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto was third.

Oakland executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane won the initial award in 2018, followed by Tampa Bay general manager Erik Neander in 2019, Los Angeles Dodgers President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman in 2020 and San Francisco Giants President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi last year.

The award was announced on the first full day of the annual general managers meetings.

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.