The Baltimore Orioles signed free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus to a minor league deal on Wednesday.
However, the outfielder left the Tampa Bay Rays midseason in 2017 to be with his pregnant wife in Alabama and there were rumors that he would retire from baseball. Rasmus, 31, has obviously quieted those rumors by joining the Orioles.
“I was feeling my way through that,” Rasmus said, via Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports. “I’ve played a lot of baseball in my day. I’ve played a lot of baseball since I was little bitty and I’ve got three kids. My wife was pregnant last year, so a lot was going on. I had a lot going on at the house. Just felt that I needed a little break.
“I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel, so I got back to working out and mentally I feel good. I feel like I still have a little bit left to give to the game and show the game some respect and go out in a good way.”
What can he contribute?
In 2017, Rasmus displayed a great deal of power in a small sample size. Batting .281/.318/.579, hitting nine home runs and driving in 23 runs in 121 at-bats. In 37 games, Rasmus had a 1.2 WAR and 132 wRC+. Playing in Camden Yards will aid Rasmus’ power game by a large margin. As a left-handed hitting outfielder, Rasmus could make starts against right-handed pitchers, where he batted .291 against them in 2017 (.252 in his career).
Rasmus can also play in all three outfield positions. If he doesn't start in right field, Rasmus can backup center fielder Adam Jones or left fielder Trey Mancini. Rasmus has a career total of 38 defensive runs saved in the outfield. He also provides a bridge to right-handed hitting prospect Austin Hays. Hays will be able to sharpen his craft at Triple-A Norfolk, if he doesn't force his way onto the team after Spring Training.
As a minor league deal, this doesn't hurt the team at all. It adds a possible bench bat and someone who is versatile. It is the typical low-risk, high reward signing that Baltimore has made in the past.
(Photo Credit: Jason Miller/Getty Images North America)