ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired right-handed pitcher Peter Fairbanks from the Texas Rangers in exchange for minor league infielder/outfielder Nick Solak. To make room on the 40-man roster, infielder Christian Arroyo (right forearm tendinitis) was transferred to the 60-day IL. Fairbanks will be assigned to Triple-A Durham.
Fairbanks, 25, was selected by the Rangers to the major league roster on June 8 and made eight relief appearances for them until being optioned on July 3. He went 0-2 with a 9.35 ERA (8.2-IP, 9-ER) and 15 strikeouts (15.58 SO/9 IP ratio) in his eight apps, including a 2.45 ERA (7.1-IP, 2-ER) and .120 opponents’ batting average (3-for-25) in his first five outings before allowing multiple runs in his last three apps. On June 9, he made his major league debut against the Oakland Athletics, striking out the side in a perfect 5th inning and pitching around an error to face the minimum in the 6th inning. In his eight apps, he averaged 97.1 mph on his fastball, according to StatCast, and his hardest-thrown pitch was 99.3 mph.
The 6'6", 220-pound righthander began the season with Class-A Down East in the Carolina League. He earned promotions to Double-A Frisco in the Texas League on May 9 and to Triple-A Nashville in the Pacific Coast League on May 29. He has made 24 relief appearances this season between the three levels of the minor leagues, going 2-0 with a 4.15 ERA (26-IP, 12-ER) and 40 strikeouts (13.85 SO/9 IP ratio). He recorded a 2.35 ERA (23-IP, 6-ER) in 21 apps prior to his selection.
His season debut for Down East marked his first professional outing since July 21, 2017. He underwent a second Tommy John surgery on August 14, 2017 and missed the entire 2018 season before returning for the fall instructional league. He previously required Tommy John surgery during his junior year of high school. He attended the University of Missouri and pitched three seasons there before being selected by the Rangers in the ninth round of the 2015 June Draft. He is 9-8 with a 4.38 ERA (203.1-IP, 99-ER) over parts of three minor league seasons.
Solak, 24, hit .266/.353/.485 (80-for-301) with 13 doubles, 17 home runs and 47 RBI in 85 games for Durham this season. He entered the season ranked by Baseball America as the No. 13 prospect in the Rays system and is currently ranked by MLB.com as the No. 12 prospect in the organization. He was acquired by the Rays from the New York Yankees in a three-team trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks on February 20, 2018. Last season, he was named Most Valuable Player for Double-A Montgomery by the Rays Baseball Operations department after leading the Southern League with a .384 on-base pct. He has hit .290/.382/.453 (430-for-1,484) with 51 home runs and 201 RBI over parts of four minor league seasons.