Ichiro Suzuki is a bench player for the first time in his career at age 40. He’s yet to appear in a game for the Yankees, as they go with Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran as the starting outfield, and Suzuki talked to Brendan Kuty of the Newark Star Ledger about how he’s feeling:
It’s nothing I’ve ever experienced before. So I have nothing to compare it to. This is just a first-time experience for me. … As human beings, there are things we have to adjust to. And that’s what I’m going through right now. You just never know. You don’t know. I don’t know if I should assume if this is going to be what’s going to be happening in the future. You just don’t know what’s going to happen. All I can do is what I’m doing now and just adjust accordingly.
And then, because Ichiro’s humor is always underrated, he also said:
I know the rules in baseball aren’t going to change, but maybe they can play four outfielders? I haven’t thought about that before. But now I do.
It’s tough to blame the Yankees for not playing Ichiro and also tough to blame other teams for not making a run at trading for him, because he’s old and hit just .273 with a .605 OPS in 473 games from 2011-2013. Still, it’s sad to see him go out collecting dust on a bench.
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.