The Astros have announced that they made a qualifying offer to outfielder Colby Rasmus. The 29-year-old will have a week to decide whether to take the one-year, $15.8MM offer or instead hit the open market with draft compensation weighing him down.
Rasmus joined Houston on a one-year, $8MM pact last winter and obviously boosted his stock over the course of the season. Working in a semi-regular capacity, he slashed .238/.314/.475 with 25 home runs over 485 plate appearances.
Truth be told, Rasmus wasn’t that bad in 2014 with the Blue Jays. Though his on-base percentage fell below .300, he still contributed plenty of pop and carried an above-average overall batting line. A three-year look-back on Rasmus reveals a cumulative 116 OPS+ and 65 long balls spread over 1,319 plate appearances.
Better still, Rasmus seemingly remains young and mobile enough to play center field. He rated as a roughly average player there after posting poor metrics in an injury-plagued 2014. And both Defensive Runs Saved and UZR felt that Rasmus played a capable left and right field, adding to his versatility.
All told, that blend of youth, power, and defensive capability makes Rasmus seem like a good bet to receive a three or four-year deal as a free agent. (And it doesn’t hurt that he had a monster post-season run.) If the takes that route, though, the need for a signing team to sacrifice a draft pick could hurt his market. It’s certainly possible to imagine him (and other mid-tier free agents) landing with clubs that have already punted their top pick for a bigger fish.