I know that (a) Domonic Brown’s broken hand is troublesome; and (b) spring stats should be given almost zero weight, but it’s probably worth noting that the guy who will likely start in right field for the Phillies — Ben Francisco — hit another home run yesterday and is now batting .421/.476/.947 in seven spring training games.
I mean, no, it wouldn’t make me happy if I was Charlie Manuel and I had to pencil Francisco in for 150+ games this year — and Brown certainly has the potential to be a fine ballplayer one day — but Brown didn’t do anything in his brief callup last season, didn’t do anything in winter ball and was atrocious this spring prior to his injury. It’s not crazy to say that he could still use some time in the minors or at least in a limited role for a contending team.
If you’re the Phillies, Brown’s injury could be a blessing in disguise. It could force them to make a move for a right fielder who deserves to play a big role on a contending team. At the very least it could result in the Phillies using a guy in Francisco who — while he isn’t all that likely to slug .947 in the regular season — probably isn’t going to do any worse than Brown would have at his best in 2011.
And heck: since Ruben Amaro is a ninja, maybe he could play some crazy ninja mind trick on some other GM and convince them that Francisco is a .947 slugger and convince him to give up something valuable for him. He’s done more surprising things recently.
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.