Colby Rasmus Rumors
In this morning's Insider blog post, ESPN's Buster Olney writes about the friendship that has grown between Red Sox DH David Ortiz and Yankees closer Mariano Rivera over the course of their storied careers in the AL East. Ortiz tells Olney that he respects Rivera in the same way that he respects his father. Ortiz will suit up for the Red Sox again in 2014, but Rivera is in the final stages of his farewell tour as the future Hall of Famer prepares to retire. Here's more from the AL East...
- Adam Lind is hopeful that the Blue Jays will exercise his $7MM option "sooner rather than later" and hopes the conversation will be conducted face-to-face with GM Alex Anthopoulos, Lind tells Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. Lind is confident that even if his option is declined and he becomes a free agent, he will be able to find other employment. In that instance, he would hope to join a contending team, though he made it clear to Nicholson-Smith that his preference is to help bring a winning team to Toronto.
- Lind's future with the team looks more certain than it did in July, writes MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm in his latest Blue Jays Inbox. Before the team discovered a tumor on Melky Cabrera's spine, they were planning to move Cabrera to DH in 2014. The tumor explains Cabrera's limited mobility and drastic decline, however, meaning Cabrera can still play in the outfield while Lind serves as the DH. Lind's option contains a $2MM buyout, so the Jays essentially have a $5MM decision on whether or not to retain him.
- Chisholm also discusses Colby Rasmus' case for an extension but notes that Rasmus' 2013 season compares favorably to B.J. Upton's walk year prior to signing a five-year, $75.25MM contract with the Braves. As such, Anthopoulos is likely to make sure that Rasmus can repeat his breakout season before looking seriously at adding him to Toronto's core.
- New Yankees shortstop Brendan Ryan "loves" playing in New York, Olney tweets. Olney speculates that the Yankees will look to keep Ryan around as insurance for Derek Jeter in 2014.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com notes that the Orioles will have to make a 40-man roster move to activate Henry Urrutia from the restricted list and wonders if Dan Johnson will be the corresponding move. Kubatko also looks at the case for Jonathan Schoop to be the team's second baseman in 2014, with Brian Roberts' contract expiring after this season.
The latest out of the AL East..
- The oblique strain that has Colby Rasmus sidelined will have a serious impact on his 2014 earnings, writes Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. Nicholson-Smith spoke with five agents and MLB team executives experienced in the arbitration process and learned that while Rasmus hurt his value by missing time on the disabled list, he could still get a pay bump in the range of $2MM.
- Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star looks at what he deems the worst trade of Alex Anthopoulos' tenure as Blue Jays GM, but it's not the trade most would think. Griffin understands the logic behind last offseason's blockbusters with the Marlins and Mets, but he questions the 2012 trade that brought J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter to Toronto in exchange for Francisco Cordero, Ben Francisco and prospects Carlos Perez, Asher Wojciechowski, Joe Musgrove, David Rollins and Kevin Comer. As Griffin points out, Lyon, Carpenter, Cordero and Francisco were all expendable pieces, making the trade essentially Happ for five prospects.
- Also in his piece, Griffin talks with Jays hitting coach Chad Mottola about Brett Lawrie's turnaround, an organizational hitting philosophy, how he deals with criticism and the enjoyment he takes in watching his pupils succeed.
The Blue Jays' Colby Rasmus has changed agents, switching to Excel Sports Management and Casey Close over the spring, reports Sportsnet.ca's Ben Nicholson-Smith. Rasmus will join an impressive list of clients with Excel, including Derek Jeter and Clayton Kershaw. The center fielder was previously a client of the Beverly Hills Sports Council.
Still just 26, Rasmus is in search of a breakout year. He showed immense promise with a .276/.361/.498 season as a 23-year-old with the Cardinals in 2010, yet has failed to repeat that performance. Last year, Rasmus posted a .223/.289/.400 line for Toronto. After avoiding arbitration with a $4.68MM deal over the offseason, Rasmus enters his final year of arbitration eligibility after this season before reaching free agent eligibility in 2015.
Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg recently told reporters that Tampa Bay executives haven't thought about trading David Price. "There’s been speculation but we haven’t had those thoughts at all," Sternberg said, adding that the Rays can accommodate a major contract for Price. Here are some more AL East-related notes...
- The Boston Globe's Peter Abraham points out that David Ortiz's heel could cost him $4MM if he opens the season on the DL. The Red Sox slugger has an $11MM base salary in 2014 that jumps to $15MM if he spends 20 or fewer days on the disabled list in 2013 due to his pre-existing Achilles injury.
- The Yankees have many weaknesses entering the 2013 season, but Alex Anthopoulos says it’s far too early to count the reigning AL East winners out. The Blue Jays GM pointed out to Joel Sherman of the New York Post that the Yankees won 95 games last year while dealing with significant injuries and suggested that they’ll be a contender again in 2013. “Just look at their rotation,” Anthopoulos said. “You might not want it in five years, but I think just about any team would take their rotation in 2013. Tampa has shown in this division what you can do with a strong rotation.”
- Though Colby Rasmus appreciates the backing of Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays' front office, he generally prefers to work by himself, Mike Rutsey of the Toronto Sun writes. "I already had that fire in me. I just kind of needed to be like, left alone," Rasmus said of his minor league development.
- Tim Britton of the Providence Journal outlines some of the ways the Red Sox could get by without David Ortiz should the designated hitter's heel injury force him to the disabled list for the beginning of the season. The Red Sox could rely on internal options such as Daniel Nava, Ryan Sweeney, Mike Carp, Lyle Overbay and Ryan Lavarnway. Alternatively, they could start Jackie Bradley Jr.'s service clock and add him to the 25-man roster. In Britton’s view it would be “foolish” to rush Bradley to the MLB level.
The Blue Jays avoided arbitration with center fielder Colby Rasmus, agreeing to a one-year, $4.675MM deal, MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm reports (on Twitter). Beverly Hills Sports Council represents Rasmus, who was arbitration eligible for the second time.
Rasmus, 26, remains under team control through 2014. Matt Swartz had projected a $4.5MM salary for Rasmus following a season in which he hit 23 home runs and posted a .223/.289/.400 batting line.
Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos spoke to reporters today, and MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm recapped the scrum. Here's the important hot stove stuff...
- "We still can add depth in our rotation, still get better in the bullpen," said the GM when asked if he was actively looking for help. The blockbuster with the Marlins did change the dynamic of their free agent pursuits.
- Anthopoulos said he "never (feels) a rush to extend a player" when asked about a potential extension for Josh Johnson, who is open to a new deal.
- Rotation depth is likely to come on minor league contracts, though a guaranteed deal is not out of the question under the right circumstances.
- The Blue Jays are not in the market for free agent position players at the moment.
- "You know what, I never talk about who we’re going to extend who we’re not going to extend," replied Anthopoulos when asked about a potential contract extension for Colby Rasmus.
- Anthopoulos admitted to softening his stance on "untouchable" players. "I’ve always had players I’m highly reluctant to trade, but at the same time, over time, I’ve realized if we have a chance to make the team better I’m going to be open to it," he said.
It’s been exactly one year since the Blue Jays, Cardinals and White Sox completed the complicated three-team trade that sent Colby Rasmus to Toronto. The Cardinals have an 88-70 regular season record in the last calendar year, plus the 11 postseason wins they earned en route to the 2011 World Series championship. Meanwhile, Rasmus has hit 20 homers and posted a .224/.283/.419 batting line in 543 plate appearances with the Blue Jays. He struggled after arriving in Toronto last summer, but has hit for power so far in 2012, and now has 17 home runs on the season.
I spoke with Rasmus earlier in the month. Here are some of his reflections on the trade, his ability and playing in Toronto:
MLBTR - Looking back, what are your thoughts on the trade?
Colby Rasmus - I’m definitely happy I got traded. I’ve enjoyed my time here since I’ve been here. When I look back at my time here, I feel like I’ve worked hard, played hard and that’s all I can do. So I’m happy with it.
MLBTR - Did you expect to be traded?
CR - I was about 50-50. It was kind of hard to tell because in baseball nobody knows until it happens. I thought maybe there was a chance because of some of the things that went on. Things weren’t meshing very well. I thought there was definitely a chance that I could be moved.
MLBTR - Did you block out all of the reports last summer, or was it impossible to ignore?
CR - I tried not to follow that stuff, but sometimes it’s hard because you see TVs in every clubhouse. They don’t turn the TVs off baseball. So we listen to everything everybody says even though you try not to. With the fans of St. Louis they’re a different breed. They’re all into their baseball. They know every stat, everything that’s going on in the papers. You run into fans everywhere you go. So yeah some of those things I would hear I would try to keep as much of it out of my mind as I could.
MLBTR - What’s the biggest difference between this year and last year?
CR - The biggest difference I would say is comfort level. Here I just feel more accepted, wanted. Nobody bothers me. I just go out and play my game and that way I have confidence in my game. In St. Louis I started to lose my confidence because maybe I didn’t do things a certain way that they liked or wanted. I think it should be between the white lines. The other stuff should be set aside.
MLBTR - How do you evaluate your performance in St. Louis and in Toronto?
CR - I feel like I played some good baseball in St. Louis. I definitely still haven’t played to my potential, but in 2010 I hit .276 with 23 home runs and 60 [actually 66] RBI. That’s a pretty good year I felt. This year, like I said, I’ve been more comfortable with the things I’m doing. That way every day I can have a bit more of a routine that I like that fits me better and makes me confident to play on the field. So I feel like I’ve still got a long way to go. I can still get better. I haven’t had the best of luck at times, but that’s baseball. I’m just going to try to continue to try to learn ways to help myself and help my team play better.
Photo courtesy of US Presswire.
We hear a lot of talk about buyers and sellers this time of year, but as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports points out in his latest column, some teams will do neither this summer and other teams will do both. Here are Rosenthal’s latest notes with less than four weeks to go before July 31st:
- The Red Sox could be positioned to trade an outfielder this month if their rehabbing players return as expected. Boston figures to pursue starting depth in trades; the Red Sox aren’t considering trades involving Josh Beckett.
- The Yankees will probably not sign Josh Hamilton or Cole Hamels this offseason, since they aim to avoid the MLB luxury tax by 2014 and that means cutting back on extravagant free agent signings.
- Under GM Frank Wren the Braves won more games while spending less money than every team but the Rays from 2009-11, Rosenthal notes.
- If the Blue Jays trade players on the brink of free agency such as Edwin Encarnacion and Kelly Johnson, they’d look to acquire players who can help them win next year. And if the Blue Jays don’t like what other teams are offering, they’ll keep their potential free agents. Toronto’s not likely to overpay in a “go for it” trade, Rosenthal writes.
- The Blue Jays aren’t trading Colby Rasmus, who has become more driven, according to a team official.
- Rosenthal suggests the Athletics could look to acquire players midseason if they stay in the playoff mix. Bartolo Colon is the player the A’s are most likely to trade, Rosenthal writes.
- The Mets are actively seeking relief help, but it’s highly doubtful they’d trade for Huston Street, who publicly criticized Mets bench coach Bob Geren last year. The Mets, who insist they won’t trade top prospects, are likely to wait until the end of the month before making any trades.
- The Cardinals wouldn’t be willing to meet the Brewers’ asking price for Zack Greinke, Rosenthal notes. St. Louis is more likely to pursue a mid-rotation starter.
- The Diamondbacks believe they need a third baseman more than a starting pitcher.
The Blue Jays and Colby Rasmus have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year contract worth $2.7MM, report CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman (on Twitter). Toronto acquired the Beverly Hills Sports Council client from the Cardinals at the trade deadline.
Our system forecast a $2.3MM salary for Rasmus next season. In 35 games after the trade, the 25-year-old hit just .173/.201/.316 with three homers while battling a wrist sprain. He's a .251/.322/.432 career hitter in his three big league seasons, though the various advanced metrics are mixed about his defensive performance.
Some links from the AL East...
- The Blue Jays have sent the Cardinals cash considerations rather than players to be named later to complete this summer's Colby Rasmus trade, reports MLB.com Gregor Chisholm (Twitter links). St. Louis was supposed to received three players to be named later in the deal.
- Chisholm also reports that the Blue Jays intend to go with five outfielders next year, so it's unclear what that means for Mark Teahen or the recently acquired Ben Francisco (Twitter links). There will be lots of competition in Spring Training.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told Chisholm that his priority is to upgrade the bullpen and starting rotation, but there's no guarantee that he'll be able to do so this offseason (Twitter link).
- The Orioles non-tendered Luke Scott earlier today, but GM Dan Duquette told MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli that they'd like "to leave the door open" for him to return to Baltimore (Twitter link).
- The Red Sox have some interest in Kelly Shoppach, reports Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe (on Twitter). Shoppach started his career in Boston.
- Left-hander Rich Hill is a non-tender candidate, but he told WEEI.com's Alex Speier that he hopes the Red Sox will retain him for next year. Hill is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.
- CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman says (on Twitter) that the Red Sox still have their eye on Ryan Madson since Daniel Bard will be preparing to work as a starter next year.
- Roger Mooney of The Tampa Tribute writes that the Rays bank on potential when handing out long-term contracts to young players, like the one just signed by left-hander Matt Moore.