KC Royals general manager Dayton Moore is obviously operating with a strict budget this winter. Given his limited financial means to improve his club, he should consider signing bounce-back candidate Colby Rasmus to fill his designated hitter need.
As we can see from the relatively moderate contracts free-agents Kendrys Morales and Edinson Volquez signed with other teams after Moore expressed interest in bringing both back to the Kansas City Royals, Moore wasn’t kidding about cutting player costs. If he can’t afford around $10 million in annual salary for Morales or Volquez, there isn’t much that he can buy in this free-agent market.
Given this constraint, Moore will have to hit the bargain bin for bounce-back candidates. In that case, former Houston Astros outfielder Colby Rasmus might be a perfect fit.
Rasmus is 30-years-old and can play all three outfield positions. He was even a finalist for the 2016 A.L. Gold Glove in left field. He’s a career .241/.311/.434 hitter in eight big league seasons. However, he slumped to .202/.286/.355 with 15 home runs and 54 RBIs in 417 plate appearances in 2016.
Rasmus did suffer a torn labrum in his left hip, a bone spur, and a torn core muscle. He underwent surgery to repair all three problems in October. But, Detroit’s Jason Verlander didn’t return to form until his second season after a similar core muscle surgery in 2014.
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If the Kansas City Royals are willing to accept some injury risk, Rasmus could be a cheap solution for their designated hitter opening after Kendrys Morales signed with Toronto. The advantage of Rasmus is that he hits from the left side of the plate. He would thus balance out the KC lineup with four left-handed hitters and five right-handed batters.
Adding Rasmus Would Help Rest Other Players
Manager Ned Yost could use Salvador Perez as the DH against left-handed pitchers to avoid Rasmus’ poor .212/.291/.364 career split against southpaws. Meanwhile, Rasmus hits a solid .251/.317/.458 against righties. And, Rasmus possesses good enough speed to play centerfield. As a result, he won’t clog the basepaths like Morales did last season.
Rasmus is also a plus defender in left, and average in center and right. He could help spell any one of the three outfielders, plus provide insurance against regression by Paulo Orlando. Even with his poor offensive season in 2016, Rasmus still provided 2.2 bWAR (Baseball-Reference Wins Above Replacement) mostly due to his outstanding defense in left field.
KC fans might also recall Rasmus’ strong performance for Houston in the 2015 playoffs against the Royals. Rasmus slashed a ludicrous .429/.600/1.143 with three homes runs in 14 at bats in the 2015 ALDS. His heroics incluced this solo shot in Game 4 that appeared to give Houston an insurmountable 6-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning:
Overall, the Royals might be able to land Colby Rasmus on a one-year deal around $5 million, since he will be looking to rebuild value for a multi-year contract in 2018.