Colby Rasmus Rumors
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.
The Blue Jays are looking for a closer this offseason and Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun says the team has checked in on free agents Francisco Cordero and Matt Capps. Heath Bell is another option for the Blue Jays, who had interest in Jonathan Papelbon before he signed with the Phillies. Here are more notes on the Blue Jays, who have yet to make a major move so far this offseason...
- The Blue Jays would listen to offers on 24-year-old first baseman David Cooper, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. Cooper, the Blue Jays' first round draft pick in 2008, debuted with the team in 2011 and posted a .678 OPS in 81 plate appearances. He won the Pacific Coast League batting title with a .364/.439/.535 line this past season, adding nine home runs and 51 doubles.
- Blue Jays president Paul Beeston isn't a fan of the posting system and Elliott suggests Toronto's interest in Yu Darvish is "lukewarm."
- The Yankees are interested in Kyle Drabek, according to Elliott. Drabek started the season in the Blue Jays' rotation before being demoted to the minor leagues. He had a standout season in 2010, but struggled with command in the Majors (6.3 BB/9) and in the minors (4.9 BB/9) in 2011.
- The Royals have some interest in Colby Rasmus because of concerns that Lorenzo Cain may not be ready for an everyday role, Elliott reports.
- The Phillies have discussed ways of re-obtaining Travis d'Arnaud, the Double-A catcher who arrived with Drabek in the 2009 Roy Halladay trade. As Elliott points out, the Blue Jays would need a ton to part with this year's Eastern League MVP.
Bob Elliot of the Toronto Sun has a host of Blue Jays news including numerous quotes from GM Alex Anthopoulos:
- Elliot hears that the Blue Jays have been "shocked" by the asking prices they've received when contacting the representatives for free agent closers. Anthopoulos sounds wary of signing closers to four- and five-year deals. Noting some research he did on injuries long-term deals for relievers when he was still an assistant GM, Anthopolous said: "...basically if you were giving out a five-year deal you were only going to get a player for four seasons."
- When asked what the club's greatest surplus was, Anthopoulos replied "prospects," which Elliot speculates could hint that the Jays may try to acquire a closer via trade.
- The Blue Jays aren't prepared to trade J.P. Arencibia because of Travis d'Arnaud's minor league success. The 22-year-old d'Arnaud ranked 36th on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list prior to a 2011 campaign that saw him hit .311/.371/542 and crush 21 homers at the Double-A level.
- The organization is at least one year away from considering d'Arnaud for the Major Leagues, and the same goes for shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria.
- The Blue Jays are content with Colby Rasmus as their center fielder for 2012, and Anthopolous calls him an upgrade defensively.
- The Jays need an everyday second baseman, which leads Elliot to speculate on Brandon Phillips.
Weather permitting, we''re just a few hours from watching the Cardinals represent the NL Central in Game Three of the World Series in Texas. While we wait, let's round up some links on the Cards and a couple of their division rivals....
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak discusses the Colby Rasmus trade with Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, noting that there was some internal opposition to moving the center fielder: "I'm not going to point anybody out specifically but there definitely was a robust debate internally on what we should do. But in the end, everybody believed it was what was best for the organization."
- In a highly recommended piece at Bloomberg Businessweek, Rob Gloster revisits another July deal, providing an in-depth look at negotiations between the Braves and Astros for Michael Bourn.
- ESPNChicago passes along a few quotes from Ryan Dempster regarding his future and the Cubs' new president. Dempster praised Theo Epstein and said he'd talk to the new front office regime before making a decision about his $14MM player option: "Hopefully it's not just picking up an option for this year, but I'll go out there and play the best I can and be here for a long time."
Blue Jays president Paul Beeston sat down with Richard Griffin of the the Toronto Star to talk about the state of the club, free agents coming north of the border, and even his own contract. Here are some highlights..
- Beeston was reluctant to tip his cap on whether or not the Blue Jays will make a run at Yu Darvish, but he did say that "I think those people at Rogers who never heard of him before, now know this player is in existence." Despite that, he has yet to inform ownership that he is ready to spend extra payroll dollars.
- Beeston said that he's happy for the ex-Jays that made it to the postseason this year with other clubs. Ultimately, he says that there's no way of knowing if the Blue Jays would have made it to the playoffs if they still had players such as Roy Halladay, Shaun Marcum, John McDonald, and Aaron Hill in the fold.
- When discussing Hill, Beeston said, "I think that [General Manager] Alex [Anthopoulos] had determined that he wanted to make a move with Aaron." Toronto shipped Hill and McDonald to the Diamondbacks for Kelly Johnson in an August trade.
- Halladay "made it quite clear" that he was not going to re-sign with the Blue Jays after the 2010 season.
- The Blue Jays didn't make a serious run at Cliff Lee in free agency last year and Beeston believes that doing so would have been a "waste of time".
- Even though the senior people at Rogers aren't baseball fans, Beeston still keeps them informed of major decisions. For example, Beeston discussed the Halladay trade with management before pulling the trigger. Beeston says that Rogers has yet to interfere with or object to a front office decision.
- At a fan get-together in February, Beeston said that the club could possibly spend up to $120MM on payroll. Beeston clarified those comments and says that the $120MM figure is in reference to salaries on the 40-man roster and not including draft bonuses and international free agency.
- That uptick in payroll could happen this year or next year. Beeston plans on adding a big piece at the right time for the right price. He later added that the team first has to show that they can contend before they can land the premier free agents on the open market.
- The Blue Jays have built up the farm system and they're reassured of their talent by the amount of inquiries they get from other teams. The Colby Rasmus trade showed that the club could afford to trade several attractive pieces without mortgaging their future.
- Rumors of Beeston re-upping his contract through 2015 are not true. In fact, he says that he hasn't talked to anyone about an extension of his current deal.
- Beeston said that he sees an opening in the AL East because of the uncertainty in Boston, aging stars in New York, and limited capital in Tampa Bay.
- Even though attendance in down in Toronto, revenue continues to grow for the organization. The belief is that the pace will pick up once the team is contending again.
Here are some links to check out before the NLCS kicks off later this afternoon..
- Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel points out that the somewhat low payrolls of the remaining playoff teams are examples of the importance of drafting, scouting, and player development. The Tigers have the largest payroll (10th), while the Cardinals (11th), Rangers (13th), and Brewers (17th) round out the pack. It's also worth noting that the Diamondbacks rank 25th and the Rays were 29th.
- The progress of center fielder Jon Jay allowed the Cardinals to trade Colby Rasmus at the deadline, GM John Mozeliak told Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Edwin Jackson, Marc Rzepczynski, and Octavio Dotel have been key parts of the team's drive to the NLCS.
- Some people think that C.J. Wilson has keen interest as a free agent in New York, tweets Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated. He adds that the Yankees are probably the early favorite to sign him.
- A Lakeview, Illinois resident is "99.9 percent sure" that he saw Red Sox GM Theo Epstein at a Starbucks in Lincoln Park, writes Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. Boston ownership has yet to acknowledge a report that the Cubs have asked for permission to talk to Epstein.
- The Angels continued their front-office purge by not renewing the contract of player development director Abe Flores, a major league source told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. Flores spent four seasons as the team's player development director after spending the previous six as the team's manager of baseball operations.
- No matter what kind of career pitcher Pedro Strop has, the trade for left-hander Mike Gonzalez at the August deadline was worth it for the Rangers, writes Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com.