Colby Rasmus to Rays: Latest Contract Details, Comments, ReactionJanuary 10, 2017
The Tampa Bay Rays confirmed on Monday they inked veteran outfielder Colby Rasmus to a one-year contract.
FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman first reported the deal on Jan. 9
Rasmus will receive around $5 million with bonuses that could reach $7 million, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
"I feel good about it," Rasmus said, per Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston. "There's some boys I played with there. It'll be fun. It'll be fun to be back in the American League East."
Rasmus, 30, hit just .206 with 15 home runs, 54 RBI and 38 runs in 107 games in 2016. It was a disappointing season in his second campaign with Houston following a solid 2015 that saw Rasmus hit .238 with 25 homers and 61 RBI.
Rasmus will bring pop to Tampa, though he hasn't recorded a great batting average (his career high is .276 in 2010 and 2013) or on-base percentage (his career high is .361 in 2010) in the big leagues. Still, his ability to hit the ball out of the park—he's hit 18 or more home runs five times—makes him an appealing addition to the Rays lineup.
The Rays finished 68-94 in 2016, but their poor record wasn't the result of a lack of offensive power. Tampa Bay ranked sixth in home runs (216) and 13th in slugging percentage (.426). The fact the Rays batted .243 as a team (28th) is concerning, however, considering Rasmus is a career .241 hitter.
Still, the Rays have historically kept a low payroll, so they were priced out of the market for the top outfielders in free agency. Rasmus should be a solid cost-effective alternative.
Keeping Rasmus healthy will be key, as he has missed 182 games in the past five years.
But Rasmus is an excellent fielder and can play all three outfield positions, so he'll bring plus defense to an outfield that already includes one of the league's best defenders, Kevin Kiermaier.
If Rasmus can regain some of his pop from two years ago, he could be one of the savvier signings in free agency.
You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.