The Baltimore Orioles have had their eyes on Colby Rasmus for the past couple of years. And as of yesterday they finally got him. Rasmus, who had previously considered retirement, agreed to a minor league contract (with an invite to spring training).
Make no mistake about the fact that Rasmus will be on the major league roster. The fact that he signed a minor league contract is just a footnote in terms of the team playing roster games. Across nine big league seasons, Rasmus is a career .242 hitter, with an OBP of .311. I would expect Rasmus to platoon in the outfield, where he’s comfortable at all three positions.
Rasmus of course was injured for much of last year with Tampa, where he had some hip issues. He also had some personal problems, but apparently all of that has now cleared up. Despite his issues last year, Rasmus has averaged 25 homers per season for his career.
I suspect that part of what drew the Orioles to him was the fact that he’s a left-handed bat. I wouldn’t classify him as a “big bat,” but he’ll give the lineup a bit of stability in terms of balancing right and left. And that was a big issue last year.
Is this a good signing for the O’s? That’s tough to say. They wanted Rasmus three years ago, but couldn’t land him. Now that he was thinking of retiring, they got him on a no-risk minor league contract. Many Orioles fans will argue that nobody wanted him any longer – except the Orioles. One way or the other, Rasmus is now part of the organization. And again, it’s a no-risk contract given the fact that it’s a minor league deal.
The Orioles will hold an intrasquad scrimmage this afternoon at 12:30 PM at Ed Smith Stadium. They kind of have a grueling schedule (as far as schedules in spring training go) the first weekend of Grapefruit League play. Of course the opener is tomorrow at 1 PM, however on Saturday the O’s have their first split squad day of the year. They’ll play at Philadelphia at 1 PM in Clearwater, and then at home at 6 PM in Sarasota against Minnesota. Sunday afternoon they head down to Fort Myers to play Boston. That’s four games in 48 hours! (Obviously two different “teams” will play in the two games on Saturday.)
I would expect Rasmus to see some action in some of these road games. Let me state right now that I think many of the outfield reps come the regular season should go to guys like Austin Hays, because that’s the future. But a lot of that will be contingent on how guys look in spring training. Both offensively and defensively.