UPDATE: Susan Slusser reports that Matsui is going to make just less than $5 million for next season (Update: Olney says it’s $4.25 million). But hey, the A’s are going to pony up for his translator and his PR person. Which, given the horde of Japanese media that follows Matsui around, is definitely a full-time gig.
Good deal for the A’s. I worry that the Coliseum will absolutely kill Matsui, but he’s a fun guy to have in baseball, so I’m glad he has a job for next season.
Monday, 6:10 PM: Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Athletics are on the verge of signing Hideki Matsui to a one-year deal. An agreement may be announced today, with a Tuesday press conference in the offing.
Which makes a ton of sense for everyone. Matsui wants to be on the west coast. The A’s need a DH, and would prefer to go year-to-year, which is all that Matsui can expect these days. He started slow last year but ended up being pretty much his old Matsui-self with the Angels, hitting .274/.361/.459 with 21 homers and 84 RBIs. I’d expect age and the move to a rough hitter’s park to depress those numbers a bit, but Matsui isn’t going to get a ton of money from Oakland. Even at last year’s $6 million salary, Godzilla will likely earn his keep.
UPDATE: According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, Matsui is scheduled to undergo a physical tomorrow morning. Assuming everything goes well, the A’s will hold an introductory press conference tomorrow afternoon.
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.