Eric Wedge: dead man walking

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It’s not a feeding frenzy yet, but blood is definitely in the water in Cleveland:

The fate of manager Eric Wedge is in the hands of owner Larry and
team president Paul Dolan. If they say he’s gone, he’s gone . . . When
asked if he was considering a change, Larry Dolan said, “I’ll talk to
you later.” When asked if that meant a change was being considered,
Dolan said, “I just don’t want to lie to you.”

Since then Paul Dolan said that nothing was imminent, and GM Mark
Shapiro says he thinks that Wedge should keep his job. As the article
says, though, it’s probably not Shapiro’s call.

I’m not one of those guys who thinks that firing a manager is
necessarily the best solution — in fact it rarely is — but I can’t
say I see any benefit to keeping Eric Wedge around. His defenders will
cite all of the injuries the Indians have suffered, but (a) they were
playing poorly right of the gate this season; and (b) even if they
weren’t, injuries are a fact of life in baseball that just have to be
overcome. Except Cleveland never overcomes them, and at some point
someone has to be held responsible for that. Maybe that’s Mark Shapiro
for not supplying the kind of depth an otherwise talented team needs in
order to work through this stuff. There’s an order in which these
things tend to proceed, however, and that usually involves the manager
getting axed first.

Not that we’d be talking epic unfairness if Wedge were to get
canned. He has has had seven years to make something work with this
team, and with one near-magical exception, it hasn’t worked. Better
managers than Eric Wedge have been let go after compiling shorter and
less disappointing records. When you add in the observation by the great Terry Pluto
that Wedge just looks lost and beat and demoralized these days, one
can’t help but think that a change would do both him and the Indians
some good.

Colby Rasmus could start 2017 on the disabled list

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Colby Rasmus isn’t ready to take outfield reps just yet. According to Rays’ manager Kevin Cash, that’s a red flag, one that could potentially postpone Rasmus’ debut as the club’s designated hitter and outfielder in 2017. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Rasmus will need to prove he can play a defensive position before getting cleared for the active roster, something which the veteran outfielder has yet to do this spring.

Rasmus, 30, signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Rays following his two-year run with the Astros. He batted a meager .206/.286/.355 with 15 home runs and a .641 OPS in 2016 and was shut down in late September with an unspecified hip/groin issue. Entering the 2017 season, he’s expected to work his way back to a full-time role after undergoing surgery to repair his core muscle and left hip labrum last October.

The Rays also finalized their one-year, $1.2 million deal with catcher Derek Norris on Saturday and will need to clear room for him on the 40-man roster. Topkin speculates that the move could send Rasmus to the 60-day disabled list, though the outfielder is not projected to miss more than a couple weeks of the regular season.

Report: Rangers agree to six-year extension with Rougned Odor

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The Rangers have reportedly agreed to a six-year, $49.5 million extension for second baseman Rougned Odor, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The extension comes with a club option for a seventh year, Heyman adds.

It’s close to the six-year, $52.5 million extension Jason Kipnis netted with the Indians in 2014, a sum Odor was rumored to be seeking during contract negotiations over the last two years. Granted, the circumstances are a little different this time around. Both players signed extensions on the cusp of their fourth year in the major leagues, but at 27 years old, Kipnis was coming off of an All-Star campaign and a career-high 4.5 fWAR performance. Odor, meanwhile, saw mixed results in 2016, batting 33 home runs and putting up 2.0 fWAR while struggling to stay consistent at the plate and exhibiting poor defense.

According to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan, Odor previously agreed to a $563,180 salary for 2017. Depending on when the extension kicks in, it should cover all three of Odor’s arbitration-eligible seasons and two seasons of potential free agency. The team has yet to confirm the extension.