Last night Ryan Zimmerman made his fourth throwing error in 15 games since returning from an abdominal injury and Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post writes that the third baseman made a decision to “overhaul his throwing mechanics in the middle of a season” to avoid future injuries.
Despite his struggles, Zimmerman told Kilgore that he’s sticking with the plan:
Just like any new thing, it’s going to take a little while. It’s obviously tough to learn while you’re at this level. But I get better every day. As far as the future, and getting more consistent, it’s worth it. It’s something I’m going to stick with and get better at.
It’s tough, but it’s better. If I thought that the way it was compared to this wasn’t going to be a big difference, I wouldn’t do it. But because I think it can make me a better player, that’s the ultimate goal. If I didn’t think it was worth it, I would maybe stop it and try to start it in the offseason. It’s going to be worth it in the long run.
Zimmerman was an elite, Gold Glove-caliber third baseman with his old throwing mechanics, so in that sense he’s fixing something that definitely wasn’t broken, but avoiding more time on the disabled list is the priority for now and the determination was made that his old throwing mechanics put him at further risk to aggravate the abdominal injury.
He’s also just 13-for-66 (.197) at the plate since returning from the DL, so altered throwing style or not Zimmerman’s struggles may have a lot to do with simply being rusty after two months off.
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.