Minaya named adviser to Yankees GM; joins Sabean, Hendry

Kevin R. Wexler/NorthJersey.com
1 Comment

NEW YORK — The Yankees are bulking up on front office talent, hiring Omar Minaya as a senior adviser to baseball operations.

A former general manager of the Montreal Expos and New York Mets, the 64-year-old Minaya joins a group of experienced leaders built around Brian Cashman, who has been Yankees GM since 1998 and is the longest-serving baseball operations head in the major leagues. Former San Francisco GM Brian Sabean was hired Tuesday as executive adviser and former Chicago Cubs GM Jim Hendry has been a special assignment scout since 2012.

“We’ve been around long enough to know that we don’t know it all and we’ve been around long enough to know that we just want to be able to help,” Minaya said.

New York, which has gone without a World Series title since 2009, added pitcher Carlos Rodon and reliever Tommy Kahnle during the offseason and re-signed Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo.

The front office moves widen the baseball operations group.

“One of the reasons I’ve staying power is I think I always surround myself with really good, intelligent people,” Cashman said. “I think the Yankees should be using every tool in the toolbox. It’s just another important voice to rely upon so whenever we’re making decisions, we want to make sure we’re making them with our eyes wide open and with all full information.”

Minaya was Major League Baseball’s first Latino general manager with the Expos from 2002-04 and then went to Mets as their GM from 2004-2010.

He said Cashman had approached him a year earlier but the time wasn’t right.

“I’m a big believer that the human element counts,” said Minaya, who considers himself “a contrarian.”

“I’m not one of those to conform to what the industry is saying or what people say,” Minaya explained. “You got to be able to sometimes be right when you go up against the grain. But I hope that I’m able to bring new ideas and bring different ideas and kind of offer outside-the-box ideas.”

Minaya became a scout with Texas in 1984 and signed Sammy Sosa. He eventually moved up to director of professional and international scouting. He left in September 1997 to become an assistant general manager with his hometown Mets.

He also was San Diego’s senior vice president of baseball operations from December 2011 until January 2015, served as senior adviser to players’ association head Tony Clark until December 2017, then rejoined the Mets as a special assistant until November 2020. He has worked for MLB since February as a consultant for amateur scouting.

Sabean worked for the Yankees from 1985-95, then left for the Giants. New York won four World Series titles from 1996-2000 and San Francisco won in 2010, ’12 and ’14.

“One of the architects of our dynasty that never got the credit he deserved,” Cashman said of Sabean. “He and Bill Livesey, amongst others, they’re the people that signed and drafted and developed the (Derek) Jeters and the (Jorge) Posadas, the Bernie Williams, the (Andy) Pettittes, the Mariano’s (Rivera). They were architects of arguably one of the greatest farm systems ever assembled.”

Since Cashman became GM, the front office has expanded greatly.

“I share information and then I gather as many opinions with the reasons behind our opinions on whether we should pursue or or counter, the concepts, whether it’s free agents or trades or internal promotions or demotions,” he said. “Back then, we were I think as an industry flying blind on many things and making the best decisions we could with the limited amount of information you had.”

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

tampa bay rays
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.