Mets owner Fred Wilpon spoke with the media during the first day of workouts for pitchers and catchers, calling the recent offseason “torture.” I’m sure a lot of this emotion had to do with the strife surrounding the dispute with Carlos Beltran, but he also sympathizes with fans who are understandably frustrated that the team failed to land a single starting pitcher:
“I understand from the fan’s point of view because I am one myself and
I’m very, very sensitive to what their feelings are and I understand
some of it,” Wilpon said. “I think that we have to be guided by our
baseball people and our baseball people evaluated for example some of
our pitchers as good or better than what was on the market, our
baseball (people) evaluated other positions and we went by what they did. Jeff
followed them. Jeff and I don’t pick the baseball players. So that’s
what they wanted to do. They think that the guys we have will prove to
be better guys than some of the guys we would have gotten.”
Of course, a recent piece by Ken Rosenthal begs to differ. Wilpon also insisted that Bernie Madoff did not have any impact on the team’s operations (never mind that the team’s payroll actually went down this winter) and that he intends to keep the franchise under family control “for generations.” Does that kill anyone else’s buzz?
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.