Pete Fairbanks is Vital to Rays Bullpen

Pete Fairbanks
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Pete Fairbanks is helping the Tampa Bay Rays reinforce their bullpen as this team continues to hold their lead in the AL East. Both he  and Jason Adam have combined to become co-closers and have helped keep the Rays in first place in the AL East while holding on to the best record in baseball.

Consistent Numbers

Unless you are a Rays fan, you probably didn’t realize how dominant Fairbanks has been over the past two seasons. He has a ERA of 1.71 in 37 1/3 innings. Fairbanks also fifteen saves, and forty-nine strikeouts. With his changeup, a four-seam fastball, and a slider, he has kept hitters guessing what he is going to throw. He has worked with pitching coach Kyle Snyder on the movement of his pitches. The mechanical adjustment they made on his slider with its unique spin, and a modification on his fast ball have generated an exceptional one-two pitch combination.

Signs Three-Year Deal

Pete Fairbanks is vital to the Rays’ bullpen. Manager Kevin Cash and the front office have seen how dominant the hard-throwing reliever can be when healthy. The right-hander was rewarded with three-year deal with an option for 2026 for $12 million, and incentives that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four years. There is a $1 million buyout if the Rays decline the option, but he can also earn up a $500,000 bonus per year as the league’s top reliever.

Injuries

Fairbanks has had a trying time with injuries during his career, including two Tommy John surgeries. He also has had other arm and shoulder issues. A torn lat muscle sidelined him the first half of the 2022 season as well. But, when healthy Fairbanks has shown how dominant he can be. Maybe the struggles he has gone through are part of the reason for his current success story.

Pete Fairbanks is thriving in the Rays’ bullpen, but had a scare while warming up in the bullpen on May 29 when his hip locked up. Fearing it was going to be a long-term stint on the IL, an MRI showed no structural damage. It turned out to be just inflammation for which he received an injection. He looked strong on the mound on his June 15 return. It certainly didn’t seem to slow him down. The Rays can breathe a sigh of relief on that note.

Top Closer

Health permitting, Fairbanks is one of the game’s top closers. Although the Rays’ bullpen is not as strong as other contending teams (according to the latest reliever roundup), they have a formidable 1-2 punch led by Adam and Fairbanks. The AL East Division is the most competitive in baseball. It is currently the only division that features five teams with winning records. The Rays have a challenging task ahead of them as they look to stay in first place. The team needs to rely on their bullpen. And as we have seen having a healthy Fairbanks continuing his dominance on the mound, he just might keep this team in first place and earn the AL East title at the end of the regular season.

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James Marshall

James Marshall

Jim Marshall has lived in Phoenix, AZ for 50 years. He is an avid baseball fan, but enjoys all of Arizona's local sports teams, including Diamondbacks, Suns, Cardinals and Coyotes. In addition to the four major sports, he closely follows the Phoenix Mercury, Arizona Rattlers and Arizona State Sun Devils. Jim's passion for baseball continues beyond the field as he is an avid collector of baseball memorabilia. His favorite athlete of all time is Baseball Hall of Fame member Harmon Killebrew. In addition to watching, reading and talking about sports, he takes time to travel and appreciate the great state of Arizona with his lovely wife, Patti.

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