Buck Showalter was one of the first few names listed by fans and the media to take over the Orioles’ managerial job when it became apparent that Dave Trembley was going to get fired. Now the Orioles are doing the logical thing and interviewing him, reports Tim Kurkjian of ESPN.
I assume this is a sign that Davey Johnson — who was interviewed last week — didn’t really impress anyone. Unless of course Showalter is some token minority candidate (minority: guys who did not win a World Series while managing Derek Jeter).
I’m less taken with Showalter than a lot of people. I think his primary appeal is to those who think that he’ll do for Baltimore what he did for New York, which is to bring them to the brink of contention via his brains and obvious organizational skills, preparation, etc. I continue to contend, however, that a lot of guys could have done what he did, mostly because the story of the Yankees’ turnaround in the early-to-mid 90s was primarily a front office story, not an on-the-field story. Nothing wrong with Showalter, mind you. He’s just not my cup of tea.
How about Wally Backman? I plugged him on HBT Extra yesterday. Before that segment I read a lot about him and his history since being unceremoniously fired by the Diamondbacks five days after taking the job there. He sounds like a hell of a lot of fun in the Billy Martin-Ozzie Guillen mold.
There’s a lot of talent in Baltimore. It just needs a kick in the ass to get moving. Wally Backman kicks some ass, so why not give him a whirl?
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.