We’ve heard a lot of to-and-fro on this subject this season, but with September just around the corner, Adam Dunn tells Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that he is “assuming” he will end the season without a contract extension from the Nationals.
Dunn, who turns 31 in November, is batting .258/.350/.537 with 31 home runs and 79 RBI this season and remains one of the most consistent power hitters in the game. Though his streak of four straight seasons with exactly 40 home runs ended last season, he still managed to slug 38 of them. He is currently on page for 39 bombs. With power at a premium across major league baseball, he should attract a bit more interest than when the Nationals got him for a bargain-basement two-year, $20 million deal before the 2009 season.
The Nationals were resistant to let Dunn go at the trade deadline, despite the White Sox, Angels and Rays showing interest, just to name a few. It could have had something to do with their hope to get a contract extension done, but keep in mind that Dunn also projects to be a Type A free agent this winter. Should the Nats offer Dunn arbitration only to see him sign elsewhere, they would receive that team’s first round pick as well as a supplemental first-round selection.
It’s a pretty good consolation prize, but it will be interesting to see if the Nats have a renewed effort to re-sign him now that Stephen Strasburg figures to be out for the entire 2011 season. The franchise needs to find a way to show their fans that they aren’t just mailing it in next season, even though they essentially just biding time.
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.