Andruw Jones and the White Sox have agreed to a one-year deal worth $500,000 in guarantees and another $1 million in potential incentives, with general manager Ken Williams making it very clear that the five-time All-Star is being brought in as a bench player:
This is an opportunity to add a power bat to the roster while improving our outfield depth. With the addition of Andruw, Mark Kotsay and Omar Vizquel, we feel our bench is taking shape to be a strong asset heading into the 2010 season.
Jones, Vizquel, and Kotsay have combined for 48 seasons, 6,177 games, and 25,290 plate appearances in the big leagues, so if nothing else the White Sox will have the most experienced bench in baseball next year.
Released by the Dodgers last winter despite still being owed $15 million, Jones latched on with the Rangers, made the team out of spring training, and turned heads by hitting .344/.523/.781 in April as a part-time player.
Unfortunately that was basically the extent of his comeback, as Jones batted just .197/.293/.418 in 287 plate appearances from May 1 through the end of the season. He still has plenty of power, but the 10-time Gold Glover can no longer play center field regularly and has hit just .207/.304/.393 over the past three seasons.
Taking a flier on Jones isn’t a bad idea for just $500,000 and he has some uses as a bench player, but don’t expect a return to form following one of the most sudden collapses in baseball history. He looked like a potential Hall of Famer through age 29 and is now just trying to hang onto a roster spot at age 32.
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.
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.