Report: Blue Jays, Chris Bassitt, agree to 3-year contract

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The Toronto Blue Jays strengthened their rotation, agreeing to a three-year, $63 million deal with Chris Bassitt.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the move to the AP on condition of anonymity because it was pending a successful physical.

Toronto is coming off its second playoff appearance in three years, but it hasn’t won a postseason series since it advanced to the 2016 AL Championship Series. It was swept in the wild-card round in 2020 and again this year.

Bassitt joins a rotation fronted by Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman. The Blue Jays also have Jose Berrios and Yusei Kikuchi, and Hyun Jin Ryu could return at some point in 2023 after he missed the last part of the season because of an elbow injury.

The 33-year-old Bassitt became a free agent when he declined his $19 million option with the New York Mets, following rotation mates Jacob deGrom and Taijuan Walker into free agency.

Bassitt went 15-9 with a 3.42 ERA in 30 starts after the Mets acquired the right-hander in a trade with Oakland at the end of the lockout. He set career highs for wins, starts, innings (181 2/3) and strikeouts (167).

Bassitt was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 16th round of the 2011 amateur draft out of the University of Akron. He made his big league debut in 2014, then was traded from Chicago to Oakland that December.

Bassitt really started to come into his own during his final three years with the Athletics, going 27-11 with a 3.26 ERA in 66 games, 63 starts.

The Toledo, Ohio, native is 46-34 with a 3.45 ERA in 136 career games over eight seasons. He earned his only All-Star selection in 2021.

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.