Yesterday Sports Illustrated upchucked Jon Heyman and Dan Shaughnessy’s Hall of Fame columns on an unsuspecting and unprepared populace. To atone for those sins, they run Joe Posnanski’s today. Ahhh, sweet, fresh coherence . . .
Best part: he comments on all 26 players on the ballot, including the Kevin Appiers and Eric Karroses (Karroi?) of the world. Coherence and comprehensiveness. You’d think it would be a prerequisite for getting a gig at a big fancy magazine like Sports Illustrated, but apparently Posnanski’s hiring represented SI moving into that territory for the first time.
Anyway, I agree with seven of his eight selections: Trammell, Alomar, Larkin, Blyleven, Martinez, Raines and McGwire.
I don’t agree with his eighth selection: Dale Murphy. Even as a Braves fan who loved, loved, loved Murph back in the day, I can’t bring myself to support him for the Hall. The peak was great, but it was really five or six elite years surrounded by one or two good years surrounded by an abyss that no one has ever managed to explain. I won’t rage against the fates if Murph makes it in one day — I got that out of my system with Jim Rice last year — but Murphy fell right off the cliff, and in my mind he falls just short.
Beyond that, though? Excellent ballot and an excellent column supporting it. But whaddaya expect? It’s Posnanski.
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.