Davey Johnson has gone 38-42 since taking over for Jim Riggleman as Nationals manager and every indication is that he’ll be retained for 2012, but before that happens general manager Mike Rizzo will go through the process of a manager search.
Yesterday the GM told Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com that “we’ve got a very streamlined group of high quality candidates that we’re going to talk to” and “I anticipate the process being much quicker, because we’ve already identified a lot of the candidates that we’re going to talk to.”
In other words, Johnson may not have to wait very long to find out if he gets to keep the job, although he apparently will have to interview for the full-time gig just like everyone else.
Zuckerman writes that Johnson “is the heavy favorite” and notes that Rizzo may have signed him to a multi-year managing contract months ago if MLB didn’t require the Nationals “to conduct full, formal managerial searches that include minority candidates.” Instead he signed a three-year “consultant” deal that covers various possible roles.
“I love Davey,” Rizzo told Zuckerman. “He’s going to be back next year in some capacity, either as the manager of the ball club or have a big say as to who is the manager of the ball club.” Nationals third base coach Bo Porter and Triple-A manager Randy Knorr will be among the non-Johnson candidates to interview, but this is clearly his job to lose.
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.