Rasmus heading to Rays on free-agent deal

Rasmus heading to Rays on free-agent deal

ST. PETERSBURG -- Free-agent outfielder Colby Rasmus is close to signing a deal with the Rays, pending a physical, according to a Major League source. The club has not confirmed the agreement.

Rasmus looks like a good fit for the Rays in left field. He plays solid defense and has a plus arm. Rasmus can also back up Kevin Kiermaier in center field and be used at DH.

The agreement is for $5 million with $2 million in incentives, according to multiple reports.

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Corey Dickerson was Tampa Bay's primary option in left field and at DH last season. In a perfect world, the Rays would have preferred a right-handed bat, but the left-handed-hitting Rasmus' addition definitely upgrades Tampa Bay's offense.

Rasmus, 30, had a down year for the Astros in 2016, batting .206/.286/.355 with 15 home runs and 54 RBIs, and he was limited to 107 games due to injury. He underwent surgical procedures on his hip and core in October, but he is expected to be ready for Spring Training.

The Rays have a history of taking chances on players hoping to have bounceback seasons. Most recently, they signed free-agent shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera prior to the 2015 season, and he came through with a big season, paving his way for a two-year, $18.5 million contract with the Mets.

Rasmus hit 25 home runs for Houston in 2015, which helped the Astros make a playoff run.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com based in Tampa. Follow him on Twitter at @_wwchastain. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.