February 24, 2017
Smell the Money
Rangers, Odor can smell extension
Last summer, the Rangers and Rougned Odor both approached the negotiating table to talk about a contract extension, but the talks reportedly stalled when the Rangers offered him $35 million over six years. That’s “Gregory Polanco” money, but it appears that the Rangers have decided it’s time to give Odor “Jason Kipnis” money, since Jon Heyman is reporting that Texas has offered the second baseman a six-year deal around $52.5 million.
There’s good reason why those numbers are similar. While Odor’s a few years younger than Kipnis, Heyman notes that the two players have the same agent and may be using Kipnis’ contract as a bit of a reference point. Plus, the 22-year-old Odor put up numbers at the plate in 2016 (.271/.296/.502 with 33 home runs and a .269 TAv for 2.9 WARP) that were somewhat similar to what the 29-year-old Kipnis produced in the same season (.275/.343/.469, 23 HR, .264 TAv, 3.6 WARP). PECOTA gives Odor one of the highest breakout rates of any young position player for 2017.
Neither party has reason to rush things, because Odor has still got a few years under team control and he’s still very young. Both sides have shown plenty of patience when it comes to making this happen. It’s clear that the Rangers are enamored with what they have in Odor and are willing to pay a decent amount of money to make sure that he’ll be defending the sanctity of second base in Texas for the foreseeable future.
Marquis may use WBC as comeback platform
Eric Gagne isn’t the only graybeard pitcher trying to use the upcoming World Baseball Classic as a platform for a potential return to the major leagues. Team Israel will start pool play on March 6 against South Korea, and the man who could be taking the mound for them in that game is none other than journeyman right-hander Jason Marquis.
In an interview with Jon Morosi at MLB.com, the 38-year-old stated that while he hasn’t thrown for teams in a showcase recently, he has been “taking care of his arm” and working on his mechanics while staying in shape. Marquis hasn’t thrown in a major-league game since 2015, but he figures that if he can impress during the WBC—after having what Morosi described as a “major league-caliber offseason”—and situations open up around baseball, then we could see teams possibly give him a shot to fill out their depth chart.
Similar to Gagne’s comeback attempt, if Marquis makes it onto a major-league squad this season it’ll be a bit of a miracle. With that said, if he can show that he still has the ability that allowed him to stay in the bigs for 15 seasons, then there’s always a possibility that he could make this happen. It’s a small possibility, but it’s there nonetheless.
Peavy puts baseball on backburner
Last season was a down year for current free agent pitcher Jake Peavy. His DRA and cFIP continued to trend in the wrong directions, as he finished 2016 with his second consecutive season with a DRA above 5.00 (5.04) and third consecutive season with a cFIP around 110 (it was that exact number in 2016). However, his struggles on the mound in 2016 could’ve been tied to the fact that he was struggling mightily off the field as well.
In an article for ESPN, Peavy shared with Jerry Crasnick some of the struggles that he’d been going through. He had to deal with the fallout of losing millions to a ponzi scheme and he also saw his season cut short in September after stepping on a pair of scissors. Worst of all, he ended up having to deal with a divorce, and that’s one of the main reasons why he’s decided to put baseball on the backburner for the time being. It’s a precious time for his children and he wants to be there for his family, so he’s let teams know that while he’s still healthy and available to pitch, this isn’t the right time for him to do so.
All in all, it’s absolutely understandable that 35-year-old veteran would want to take time away from the game. That’s a lot for anybody to deal with, much less someone who’s dealing with the rigors of playing a professional sport at the highest level possible. While it’s certainly debatable if we’ll see Peavy reverse his decline as a pitcher, it would still be nice to see him back in the majors this year at some point, if only because it would mean that things would be fine for Peavy on a personal level. Here’s hoping that things turn around for him.