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Rays, Fairbanks agree to 3-year, $12M extension

Joe Sargent / Major League Baseball / Getty

The Tampa Bay Rays have locked up another key pitcher, agreeing to a three-year extension with reliever Pete Fairbanks, the team announced Friday.

Fairbanks' extension is worth $12 million and includes a $7-million club option for 2026 with a $1-million buyout. A series of escalator clauses could raise the option's total value to $11 million.

Fairbanks' new deal covers all of his years of arbitration eligibility. His free agency will be delayed by one season if the Rays exercise the contract's option.

After missing the first half of last season due to an injury, Fairbanks returned healthy in July and dominated down the stretch. He posted a 1.13 ERA, 0.86 FIP, and 0.67 WHIP with 38 strikeouts to just three walks over 24 second-half appearances, and he finished the year on a 22-inning shutout streak.

The 29-year-old is known for his blistering fastball, which averaged 99 mph last year, along with a devastating slider as his secondary pitch. He's largely a two-pitch hurler, having thrown his sinker just twice last year, according to Baseball Savant.

Fairbanks has dealt with a variety of arm issues during his career. He's undergone Tommy John surgery to repair a damaged elbow ligament twice - once in high school and again while a minor leaguer in 2017 - and also missed time due to shoulder and lat injuries.

When healthy, however, he's shown flashes as one of the most dominant relievers in baseball. Since the Rays acquired Fairbanks from the Texas Rangers in 2019, he's posted a 2.98 ERA and 2.39 FIP while averaging 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings across 111 appearances.

Fairbanks is the second arbitration-eligible pitcher the Rays have extended this week following Jeffrey Springs' four-year, $31-million agreement on Wednesday.

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