Future Hall of Famer Vizquel joins White Sox

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vizquel bunt.jpgSatisfied with his role but not with the idea of spending another year in Texas, Omar Vizquel became the first major league free agent to sign with a different team Monday, joining the White Sox on a one-year, $1.375 million contract.
In Chicago, Vizquel will be counted on to play behind youngsters Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham and could serve as a defensive replacement at third base.
The 42-year-old Vizquel hit .266/.316/.345 in 177 at-bats for Texas last season, making it his best offensive season since 2006. The Rangers probably would have asked him back even if he didn’t hit at all. He was certainly a factor in helping rookie Elvis Andrus adjust, and despite never having played third base and rarely having played second, he appeared comfortable there last season.
2010 will be Vizquel’s 22nd year as a major leaguer. In 2008, he broke Luis Aparicio’s major league record for games played at shortstop. He hasn’t added to his Hall of Fame resume since, but the native of Venezuela has strong support from the writers based on his 11 Gold Gloves and longevity.
That’s the case even though those very same writers have given him MVP votes just once in his career, that coming when he finished 16th in the balloting in 1999. Aside from 1999, he’s never hit .300 or posted an 800 OPS. He’s appeared in just three All-Star Games, starting none of them. He’s also hit a disappointing .250/.327/.316 in 228 postseason at-bats. His Indians teams never won a World Series in six postseason appearances.
So, does a player who has never been rated as one of the top 10 performers in his league really deserve induction into Cooperstown?

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.