Rays’ Diaz avoids arbitration, gets new deal
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tampa Bay Rays infielder Yandy Díaz agreed to a $24 million, three-year contract on Tuesday that avoided a salary arbitration hearing.
Díaz’s agreement could be worth $36 million over four seasons.
The 31-year old will receive $6 million this season, $8 million in 2024 and $10 million for 2025. The 2026 club option is $12 million with no buyout. There is a $1 million assignment bonus that would be payable by receiving team.
Díaz has spent parts of six seasons in the majors with Cleveland (2017-18) and Tampa Bay (2019-22). He has a career average of .278 with 39 home runs and 198 RBIs.
Acquired by the Rays in a three-team trade on Dec. 13, 2018, Díaz hit .296 with nine homers and 57 RBIs in 137 games last season, He career highs with 71 runs, 140 hits, 33 doubles, and 78 walks.
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Díaz was the third Rays’ arbitration-eligible player to reach a deal.
Mets, batting champ McNeil reach deal
NEW YORK — Batting champion Jeff McNeil and the New York Mets finalized a $50 million, four-year contract Tuesday that avoided a salary arbitration hearing.
The move was the latest by the high-spending Mets, who added pitcher Justin Verlander and David Robertson, catcher Omar Narváez and outfielder Tommy Pham, and also reached a $162 million, eight-year deal to keep outfielder Brandon Nimmo.
“It starts with ownership,” McNeil said at a news conference. “They want to put a winner on the field. It’s been pretty amazing to see what that’s looked like the last few years.”
He gets $6.25 million this year, $10.25 million in 2024 and $15.75 million in each of the following two years. The Mets have a $15.75 million option for 2027 with a $2 million buyout, a season that if exercised would make the agreement worth $63.75 million over five years.
He would get $100,000 for winning the World Series MVP, $50,000 for League Championship Series MVP, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger or making the All-Star team. McNeil would receive a one-time $500,000 assignment bonus if traded, payable by the receiving team. He also gets a hotel suite on road trips.
Dexter Fowler retires
Dexter Fowler says he is retiring at age 36 after 14 major league seasons.
An All-Star outfielder in 2016 when he won a World Series title with the Chicago Cubs, Fowler hit .259 with 127 homers and 517 RBIs. A 14th-round pick by Colorado in the 2004 amateur draft, Fowler played for the Rockies (2008-13), Houston (2014), the Cubs (2015-16), St. Louis (2017-20) and the Los Angeles Angels (2021).
Fowler signed a minor league contract with Toronto last March 31. He went 5 for 12 (.417) with three RBIs in three games for Triple-A Buffalo from April 28-30, then was released on May 3.
“From an 18-year-old draft pick in Colorado to a ‘vet’ in Anaheim — there are a few things I will never forget,” Fowler wrote on Twitter. “Getting THAT call to the big leagues in September 2008. Wow. My world was spinning. My first ‘you’ve been traded to Houston’ heart pounding call. The feeling of bliss while hearing the words ‘All-Star.’ … Soaking wet and freezing on the field with tears in my eyes after winning the World Series in Chicago. … I’m mostly proud to look back at my career knowing that I played the game the right way and did my best to make a positive impact beyond the win.”
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