10:27am: Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweets that the Quentin-for-Rasmus stuff has been percolating since the end of the season. One Cardinals front office type told him "Gotta do better than that."
8:38am: Kenny Williams is certainly no stranger to blockbuster trades, and a source tells Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times that the White Sox general manager has targeted Cardinals outfielder Colby Rasmus. Williams is said to be willing to part with Carlos Quentin in a package to acquire the young center fielder.
"It was obvious that [the Cardinals] were paying extra attention to Quentin at the end of the season, so this might have been something that was already talked about,'' says Cowley's source.
The 24-year-old Rasmus reportedly demanded a trade earlier this summer after which his rift with manager Tony LaRussa was made public, though he later denied that claim. GM John Mozeliak has said repeatedly that he will not trade his youngest regular, but you have to assume that he'd at least listen to any offers made. Rasmus hit .276/.361/.498 with 23 homers in 534 plate appearances this year, and UZR likes his defense: +2.6 over the last two seasons.
Quentin, 28, hit .243/.342/.479 in 527 plate appearances this year, though he missed a big chunk of the 2009 season with plantar fasciitis and is an awful defensive player (-40.6 UZR over the last three years). The salaries don't line up here, which would be one hurdle if the two clubs do pursue a deal. Rasmus is still a year away from arbitration eligibility (four years from free agency) while Quentin earned $3.2MM in 2010, his first year of arb eligibility (two years from free agency).
If Williams makes a run at Rasmus, he's going to have plenty of competition. Earlier this month we heard that several teams, including the Braves, Blue Jays, and Diamondbacks have interest in acquiring Alabama's high school single season homerun record holder. Ben Nicholson-Smith recently put together a list of potential trade destinations for Rasmus, though more than 57% of MLBTR readers would not trade him based on last month's poll.