Pitcher Ross Stripling, Giants reach 2-year, 25M contract

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SAN FRANCISCO — Ross Stripling made quite the memorable major league debut in San Francisco a while back with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.

Manager Dave Roberts pulled him with a no-hitter going in the eighth inning and called the decision a “no-brainer” afterward.

The 33-year-old Stripling figures to soon be pitching many more innings in that waterfront ballpark.

Stripling reached agreement on a two-year, $25 million contract with the Giants. The free agent right-hander still calls that outing on April 8, 2016, of the most unique days of his baseball life.

“Man, it never gets old. That was seven years ago now, which is crazy, just how special that was. I think about it all the time,” he recalled. “Still get asked about it all the time, `Do you think you could have finished it?’ Or `Are you still made at Dave Roberts?’ All this kind of stuff, which I’m not.”

“It was just like a perfect combination of some of the craziest things that have ever happened. Just a crazy game and an awesome debut and will go down as a top-3, -4, -5 memory for me in my career, he said.

Stripling, who went 10-4 for Toronto last season, is now eager to be part of a San Francisco rotation featuring Logan Webb, newcomer Sean Manaea, Alex Cobb and Alex Wood. Giants President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi has told Stripling that’s the plan.

“I expect to start. I had a good year as a starter. I feel like the couple times I’ve gotten a runway as a starter in the big leagues where I kind of knew my position in the rotation as a starter was safe is when I’ve done the best,” Stripling said in a video call. “I made an All-Star game in 2018 with the Dodgers and then this year with Toronto and I knew they basically didn’t have anyone and they gave me some runway and I was able to do well.”

Stripling’s contract includes a $5 million signing bonus and allows him to opt out after next season, when he will earn $7.5 million. He has a $12.5 million salary for 2024.

Stripling considers his unpredictability as a strength because even an opponent’s third time through the batting order shouldn’t make it easy to figure him out. He made big strides with his changeup this year, utilizing the pitch far more regularly against right-handed hitters.

“Kind of kitchen sink from pitch one where I keep hitters off balance by throwing anything in any count,” he said.

Stripling had Giants manager Gabe Kapler as his minor league coordinator with the Dodgers, San Francisco outfielder Joc Pederson as a roommate in the Los Angeles farm system and Zaidi as general manager.

Last season, Stripling set career highs of 10 wins, a 3.01 ERA, 24 starts and 134 1/3 innings with the Blue Jays. He went 9-4 with a 2.92 ERA as a starter and also 1-0 with a 4.09 ERA in eight relief outings.

Stripling’s deal also calls for an annual donation of $62,500 to the Giants Community Fund.

Right-hander Miguel Yajure cleared waivers and was assigned outright to Triple-A Sacramento, clearing room on the 40-man roster for Stripling.

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.