Astros outfielder Colby Rasmus, who accepted a qualifying offer from Houston this November rather than test the free-agent market, tells Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle that he’d like to remain an Astro until retirement. “As I stand here right now, I’d like to see myself in Houston for the rest of my playing career,” said Rasmus. “I would really like that. I think that would be great for my family. I enjoy it here. I think there’s great people, great atmosphere that they’re trying to create — the organization as a whole wanting to win and putting good players on the field.” That may seem a lengthy goal for a player on a one-year deal, though it’s worth remembering that Rasmus has previously expressed that he may not want as lengthy a career as many players. Early in the 2015 season, Rasmus said he may only want to play through the 2018 season, voicing a desire to leave time in his life for his wife and daughters. It’s not clear if Rasmus has rethought his future following a seemingly very positive first year in Houston, but his comments will certainly be worth recalling come season’s end as he prepares to re-enter the free agent market.
Here’s more on the Astros and their division…
- The left wrist and index finger pain that plagued Astros infielder Marwin Gonzalez over the final month of the season and into the playoffs has subsided this winter, he tells the Chronicle’s Evan Drellich. The switch-hitting Gonzalez’s swing was severely hampered when batting as a left-handed hitter, he explained, but he was able to hit for the first time this offseason yesterday and expects to be good to go when Spring Training rolls around. Gonzalez, a former Rule 5 pick, has emerged as a very solid utility option for Houston and had his best season in 2015 when he batted .279/.317/.442 with 12 homers while playing all four infield positions and left field as well. He avoided arbitration by settling on a $2MM salary last week.
- John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group explores the parallels between Andrew Lambo’s arrival in the Athletics’ organization and the arrival of Brandon Moss several years ago. As Hickey notes, both were 28-year-old left-handed hitters that had converted from the outfield to first base and had consistent track records of power in the minor leagues. Lambo spoke to Hickey and acknowledged that he’s aware of the comparison, noting that it’s hard not to be, considering the fact that he knows Moss from the pair’s days together in the Pirates organization. Lambo tells Hickey that he feels recovered from the plantar fasciitis that plagued him in 2015. He’ll hope to earn a 25-man roster spot in Oakland, though as Hickey notes, the presence of Yonder Alonso as a left-handed-hitting first baseman and Coco Crisp in left field could cloud his chances to break camp with the club.
- The removal of Efren Navarro from the Angels’ 40-man roster to clear space for right-hander Al Alburquerque creates a potential path to a roster spot for Rule 5 pick Ji-Man Choi, writes MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez. The 24-year-old Choi lost his 40-man spot with the Mariners last spring when he suffered a fractured leg in Spring Training but remained in the organization and returned late in the season to bat .290/.388/.406 in 89 minor league plate appearances. Choi, a left-handed bat, has a lifetime .280/.379/.401 slash at Triple-A and has gaudy numbers against right-handed pitching throughout his minor league tenure. As Gonzalez notes, however, the acquisition of a left fielder — either via free agency or trade — would likely push Daniel Nava into the role for which Choi could currently vie.