Nationals reach seven-year, $126M deal with Jayson Werth

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Big news here as the baseball world continues its migration to Orlando, Florida for the Winter Meetings.

According to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, free agent outfielder Jayson Werth is close to agreeing to a contract with the Nationals.

Zolecki has not heard any particulars on the terms of the deal, but it’s sure to be a big one.  Werth is represented by super agent Scott Boras, who usually recommends that his top-tier clients wait until the later part of the offseason to sign.  Unless, of course, they’re overwhelmed by big time money.

Werth batted .296/.388/.532 with 27 homers and 85 RBI over 156 games for the Phillies in 2010 and should do well for several years in D.C.  The Nats probably overpaid for him, disappointed by Adam Dunn’s departure and inspired by Ryan Zimmerman’s recent comments about the direction of the organization, but a deal with Werth represents a small coup for the Washington front office.  They’ve courted many top free agents since moving to the nation’s capital and been spurned by pretty much all of them.

Werth wearing the Curly W, that’s cute.

UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com says the deal is done.

UPDATE II: Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that Werth will get a seven-year deal.  Yikes.

UPDATE III: According to Rosenthal, the seven-year contract will be worth $126 million.  That’s an unbelievable amount of money — more than the Cardinals paid a younger Matt Holliday last winter.

Colby Rasmus could start 2017 on the disabled list

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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.

Report: Rangers agree to six-year extension with Rougned Odor

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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.