Vladimir Guerrero is out of the Orioles’ lineup tonight with a wrist injury that dates back to Sunday, when he was hit by a pitch in the game against the Red Sox that featured ejections (and later suspensions) galore.
Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com reports that Guerrero isn’t even available off the bench and will be examined by a doctor, with Matt Wieters taking his place as the designated hitter and Craig Tatum replacing Wieters behind the plate.
Guerrero’s poor second half and abysmal playoff performance last season hinted that he was in the middle of a steep decline at age 36 and sure enough he’s hit just .279 with seven homers and a .700 OPS in 83 games after signing a one-year, $8 million deal with the Orioles, which is the worst OPS of his career by nearly 100 points.
It won’t be tough for the Orioles to replace that production, but in signing Guerrero they were no doubt hoping that he could help them stay in contention or at least fetch some decent value in a midseason trade and right now neither looks like it’ll happen even if the injury proves minor.
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.