Rays And Rasmus Finally Broker A Deal
The Tampa Bay Rays have danced with Colby Rasmus in years’ past but were unable to work out a deal until tonight. The two sides have reached an accord on a reported one-year deal (h/t to Mark Berman of Fox26 in Houston).
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) January 10, 2017
There has not been an official announcement from the Rays. Joel Sherman (Twitter) reports the deal is worth $5MM and includes $2MM in bonuses.
While the left handed hitting Rasmus struggles to hit left handed pitching, his glove should keep him in the outfield most games while getting most of his time off against some of the tougher lefties around the league.
2016 A Dismal Season: Fighting Injuries
The 2016 season was a struggle as he hit just .206/.286/.355 with 15 homers spanning 407 plate appearances. This after a very fruitful 2015 season in which he hit .238/.314/.475 including 25 homers. After the season the Houston Astros offered him a qualifying offer (1-year/$15.8MM) and he accepted.
Rasmus played through an oblique and groin issue which required surgery at the end of the year. During the season he fought through vertigo like symptoms before having surgery to remove a cyst in his ear in August. It’s been said that using a round bat to hit a round ball is one of the hardest things to do, I have to imagine not having balance makes it the much more difficult. Prior to the surgery he was mired in a 3-for-66 slump.
Stellar Defender: Defensive Runs Saved/Insurance Policy
Despite a down year with the bat, his defense was as good as ever as he registered 20 defensive runs saved appearing in 87 games in left field, 21 in center, and 11 in right.
His 20 defensive runs saved ranked fourth in all of baseball for outfielders behind the Boston Red Sox’ Mookie Betts (32), Rays’ teammate Kevin Kiermaier (25), and the Toronto Blue Jays’ Kevin Pillar (21).
He lead all major league outfielders with a 31 ultimate zone rating (UZR/150).
Defense is an area that the Rays desperately wanted to improve in 2017. Last season the Rays went form 20th in the majors in fielding percentage in the first half (.983; 55 errors in 88 games) to 13th in the second half (.985; 39 errors in 74 games). Outside of Kevin Kiermaier the Rays outfielders registered a -1 defensive runs saved.
Improve Through Better Competition: Earn Playing Time
“The way that we look at it is we like a lot of the players that we have, but I think we also need to be realistic with where we finished in the standings, and where we’ve been the last couple of years,” said Erik Neander. “I think at minimum, we need to create greater competition for the various spots for playing time on our club.
“It’s something that will make our guys internally better, and I think overall make our team better by doing that. I think it is something that we absolutely would like to do, to create a greater sense of competition and to let things play out that way.”
Adding an established major league outfielder to the roster adds another person to take plate appearances away from non-performing players. Whether it’s Nick Franklin, Steven Souza Jr., Mikie Mahtook, or whoever else may be vying for playing time in the outfield (or possibly DH), Rasmus brings depth and creates competition.