Mike Piazza will make his first appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot next year and the 12-time All-Star catcher wants to wear a Mets hat on his plaque.
Piazza was interviewed yesterday while at Madison Square Garden in New York for the Knicks-Nuggets game and replied “it’s gotta be the Mets, no question” when asked which team he’d like to represent in Cooperstown.
That’s not surprising, but it also may not matter because players don’t get to decide which hat they wear. That decision is made by the Hall of Fame and in Piazza’s case they have a tough call to make.
Piazza played more games for the Mets (972) than he did for the Dodgers (726), but he was a better player in Los Angeles than he was in New York. He hit .331 with a .966 OPS and 33.6 Wins Above Replacement for the Dodgers, compared to .296 with a .915 OPS and 24.6 Wins Above Replacement for the Mets. And while Piazza’s lone World Series appearance came with the Mets, his Rookie of the Year award and pair of runner-up MVP finishes all came with the Dodgers.
Piazza is about as close as a Hall of Famer can get to having his career split evenly between two teams and he also played briefly for the Padres, A’s, and Marlins. I’d lean toward the Dodgers because they drafted him, developed him, and were the team for which he debuted and emerged as a superstar, but Piazza clearly thinks of himself as a Met, played more games for the Mets, and was certainly a great player in New York even if he was better in Los Angeles.
And of course all this speculation assumes that the Hall of Fame voters will do the right thing and elect Piazza, which I suppose is no certainty at this point.
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.