Astros sign veteran Michael Brantley to 1-year, $12M deal

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

HOUSTON — Veteran outfielder Michael Brantley signed a one-year, $12 million deal to remain with the Houston Astros after missing more than half of last season with a shoulder injury.

The 2023 season will be Brantley’s fifth with the Astros. Last season he hit .288 with 14 doubles, five homers and 26 RBIs in 64 games before going on the injured list with a right shoulder injury that eventually required surgery.

Brantley said that he is progressing well since the August surgery but that he won’t start hitting until mid-January.

“We have been working hard all offseason to get back,” he said. “But overall, I’m doing fine. I’m really happy where I am physically.”

Brantley can earn up to $4 million in bonuses for plate appearances. He’ll get $500,000 each for 400 and 425 plate appearances and an additional $750,000 each for 450, 475, 500 and 525.

In four seasons in Houston, he was named to two All-Star Games and hit .306 in 379 games. Brantley missed the postseason last season but has hit .327 in 47 career playoff games with them.

He is excited to return to the team as Houston tries to build on last season’s World Series championship.

“I just look forward to being out there with my teammates contributing and just enjoying the atmosphere that my teammates bring each and every day,” he said. “They get the best out of me and I try to get the best out of them.”

Brantley spent his first 10 major league seasons with Cleveland, where he was named to three All-Star Games and won a Silver Slugger Award in 2014.

Brantley has been Houston’s primary left fielder since signing with the team in 2019. While he was out last season, Yordan Alvarez played more left field instead of primarily serving as the team’s designated hitter. Manager Dusty Baker has said he’d like to continue to see Alvarez play defense this season, which would leave Brantley and Alvarez splitting time in left field.

Brantley said he’s spoken to Baker since agreeing to this deal but that they hadn’t discussed specifics of his role on the team in the coming season. But he added that he’d be open to playing designated hitter more if that’s what Baker wanted.

“Of course,” he said. “I’m a team player. Team comes first always so I just look forward to contributing in a positive way.”

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.