Injured Tyler Matzek signs 2-year, $3.1M deal with Braves

Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
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ATLANTA — Even though Tyler Matzek will miss the entire 2023 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, the Atlanta Braves have re-signed the reliever to a two-year, $3.1 million contract.

The deal also includes $5.5 million club option for 2025 with no buyout.

Matzek appeared in 42 games for the Braves in 2022, going 4-2 with a 3.50 ERA and his first career save. The 32-year-old left-hander dealt with elbow pain late in the season and was left off the NL East champion’s postseason roster.

Matzek underwent the Tommy John procedure on Oct. 12, which will keep him out for 12 to 18 months.

A first-round pick by Colorado, Matzek pitched a couple of seasons with the Rockies as a starter beginning in 2014.

But his career appeared over after he went four full seasons without appearing in the big leagues. He even spent time with the Texas AirHogs in the independent American Associaton, hoping to earn another chance.

Matzek finally got it with the Braves in 2020, quickly establishing himself a key middle reliever on a team that reached the NL Championship Series.

In 2021, he helped Atlanta win its first World Series title in 26 years, going 3-0 with a 1.72 ERA over 13 postseason appearances.

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

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Dave Nelson/USA TODAY Sports
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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.