The Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to a one-year, $5-million deal with 30 year-old free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus, reports Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times). The deal comes with incentives that could boost its value to around $7-million.
Rasmus slashed just .206 BA/.286 OBP/.355 SLG/.641 OPS/.257 BABIP/.282 wOBA last season for Houston, following a 2015 campaign in which he batted .238 with a .475 SLG with 25 home runs and 61 RBI and a 117 wRC+ in 137 games. He is coming off of surgeries for a cyst in his ear as well as hip and core muscle maladies — which tends to explain his offensive fall-off.
Rasmus presents another left-handed bat to the outfield along with Kevin Kiermaier and Corey Dickerson. For the Rays, Rasmus will likely slot in at DH and left-field, while serving as a capable backup for Kiermaier in center, where he has spent a good amount of his career. According to Topkin, Dickerson could find himself serving more as a DH next season.
While Erik Neander and the rest of the Rays’ front office hopes for a bounce-back season, in the batter’s box, from Rasmus, the outfielder has drawn strong defensive reviews, especially last year when he posted a +20 DRS, and is known as a good base runner even though he doesn’t often attempt to steal.
It isn’t yet known whether or not the team will continue to pursue a first baseman to platoon with Brad Miller. MLB Trade Rumor’s Jeff Todd spoke to that Monday, saying:
The Rays have also been connected, at least loosely, to a variety of right-handed hitters, including veteran slugger Jose Bautista. It isn’t known at this point whether adding Rasmus will preclude the club from pursuing one of the various first base/DH types still floating around on the market, but it’s certainly possible to imagine multiple acquisitions if the price is right. Tampa Bay is also still reportedly engaged with other organizations about their surplus of capable rotation arms.
Once the deal is made official by the team, the Rays will need to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Rasmus — be that by trade or otherwise.