Tampa Bay Rays Sign OF Colby Rasmus

The Tampa Bay Rays will take a chance on Colby Rasmus, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal with the outfielder.

The Tampa Bay Rays had a tough season in 2016, finishing last in a very competitive American League East. They will look to improve off of last season and have taken another step toward that goal.

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Rays have signed outfielder Colby Rasmus to a one-year deal worth $5 million. The $5 million is the base salary and Rasmus could make as much as $7.5 million with bonuses. The deal will give the Rays a much-needed option in their outfield for the 2017 season.

Rasmus, 30, had a very poor 2016 season with the Houston Astros. In 417 plate appearances, Rasmus hit .206/.286/.355 with 15 home runs and 54 RBI. The outfielder led the American League in runs batted in at one point during the season, but it was all downhill from there. This comes after a 25 home run season for Rasmus in 2015 with the AL West champion Astros. Rasmus dealt with a multitude of injuries last season, holding him back to play only 107 games.

A former first round pick by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2005, Ramus has 156 career home runs over eight major league seasons. Rasmus has played for the Cardinals, Blue Jays, Astros and now the Rays.

The Rays will most likely use Rasmus against right-handed pitchers next season and as a backup for center fielder Kevin Kiermaier. Rasmus hit .136/.220/.235 against left-handers last season, turning him into just a platoon option. Thirteen of his 15 home runs last season came against right-handers and 46 of his 54 RBI.

The Rays needed to take the risk with Rasmus. After finishing last in the AL East, there needed to be some additions to the outfield to add some power. The Rays excelled at hitting the long ball last season, finishing the season with 216 home runs, ranking them at sixth in MLB.  The addition of Rasmus gives the Rays some more potential for power in their lineup. The one thing you get from all the teams in the AL East is that they all can hit for power and score a lot of runs. The Rays are just trying to keep up with the rest.

The Rasmus move was a low-risk, high-reward signing. They could get the Rasmus of 2015 or the one from 2016, but either way they did not give up a lot for him. The Rays are most likely not done acquiring talent for next season, and they are another team to watch as the offseason comes to a close in March.

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