UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Rays are pursuing Escobar and that the A’s could also be in play.
7:20 PM: The Marlins acquired Yunel Escobar last month as part of the 12-player blockbuster with the Blue Jays, but he was never expected to be long for Miami, as he’s owed $5 million next season while Adeiny Hechavarria is expected to be used as the everyday shortstop. So it’s no surprise that he’s being shopped aggressively at the Winter Meetings.
In this blog post, Frisaro notes that the A’s appear to be one of the teams in talks with the Marlins for Escobar.
Escobar is currently the second-highest paid player on the Marlins behind Ricky Nolasco, who is also considered a trade candidate. The 30-year-old batted .253/.300/.344 with nine home runs, 51 RBI and a .644 OPS in 145 games with the Blue Jays this season and was suspended five games in September for displaying a homophobic message on his eye black. His contract includes $5 million club options for 2014 and 2015.
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.