Colby Rasmus Rumors
On the off-chance you missed it, the Blue Jays, Cardinals and White Sox announced a pair of major trades today. The Blue Jays acquired center fielder Colby Rasmus and pitchers Trever Miller, Brian Tallet, and P.J. Walters from the Cardinals for starter Edwin Jackson, relievers Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel, outfielder Corey Patterson, and three players to be named later or cash considerations. Before completing the deal with St. Louis, the Blue Jays acquired Jackson and third baseman Mark Teahen from the White Sox for reliever Jason Frasor and prospect Zach Stewart. Here’s reaction to the trades from around MLB. Be warned, Cardinals fans, you might not like what follows...
- The price the Cardinals paid to acquire Jackson and bullpen help was "just too high," according to ESPN.com's Keith Law, who suggests St. Louis' internal emphasis is on manager Tony La Russa, not the players. Law loves what Toronto did and doesn't understand Chicago's move.
- Jim Bowden of ESPN says the Cardinals had better win this year "or they will really regret this one." He calls St. Louis' move the "worst trade of the year" and gives the Blue Jays an 'A.'
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post confirms that the Cardinals turned down the Rays' offer of Jeff Niemann and J.P. Howell for Rasmus (Twitter link). Sherman suggests the Cardinals would have been better off accepting Tampa Bay's offer.
- The Giants showed how to go for it today and the Cardinals showed how not to go for it, Yahoo's Jeff Passan writes.
- A longtime scout tells ESPN.com’s Buster Olney that Rasmus has a chance to be a star. “I don't understand that deal at all," the scout said (Twitter link).
- Matthew Leach of MLB.com likes what the Cardinals got for 2011, but finds it hard to like the deal for St. Louis because of what it means for 2012-14 (Twitter link).
- Now that Rasmus and Carlos Beltran are off of the market, the list of teams with possible interest in B.J. Upton is taking shape, as Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times explains. The Braves, Indians, Nationals, Phillies, Pirates and Reds are possible destinations for Upton.
- As Matt Eddy of Baseball America explains, Walters should qualify for a fourth option year in 2012 and Rzepczynski "might be the prototype" pupil for Cards pitching coach Dave Duncan.
- Joe Pawlikowski of FanGraphs explains that it's easiest to see the trade from the Blue Jays' perspective, since they gave up three relievers and a prospect for a player who can help them contend for 2012-14.
- At CloserNews, Dan Mennella wonders if Kyle McClellan could be in line for some saves, now that he's back in the bullpen.
- Tim Dierkes wrote earlier today that “it's hard to see this as anything but a win for the Blue Jays.”
- I agree with Tim and many of the others above- it’s a win for the Blue Jays. Let’s not forget how much has to be in place for this kind of deal to happen: a creative GM who reads the market well, payroll flexibility (for Teahen’s contract), willingness from ownership to take on salary, enough appealing prospects to be able to part with Stewart and enough bullpen depth to send three quality relievers packing on the same day. This trade doesn’t seem simple and in some ways it may actually be more complicated that it appears.
An eight-player deal was struck today, as the Blue Jays announced they've acquired center fielder Colby Rasmus and pitchers Trever Miller, Brian Tallet, and P.J. Walters from the Cardinals for starter Edwin Jackson, relievers Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel, outfielder Corey Patterson, and three players to be named later or cash considerations. ESPN's Buster Olney first tweeted the full details.
In Rasmus (pictured), Alex Anthopoulos acquired a good young player who had worn out his welcome with management, much like the Blue Jays GM did with Yunel Escobar last summer. Rasmus, 24, is hitting .246/.332/.420 in 386 plate appearances, a down year compared to 2010. He'll be arbitration eligible for the first time after this season, so he's under team control through 2014. Cardinals GM John Mozeliak recently called a Rasmus trade "highly unlikely," but as Strauss notes, the center fielder has "fascinated and frustrated" the Cardinals over the last three years and made repeated trade requests. Mozeliak shopped Rasmus to the Blue Jays, Rays, and Red Sox, reports Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He adds that prior to public criticism from manager Tony La Russa earlier this month, the Cardinals were in contract extension negotiations with Rasmus.
Miller, 38, has been used sparingly by the Cardinals this year, logging only 15 2/3 innings. Most of them came against left-handed hitters, but Miller hasn't pitched well no matter how you slice it. About $700K remains on his contract. Tallet, 33, has been ineffective as well and currently resides on the DL for an intercostal strain. He spent the previous five seasons with the Jays. About $263K remains on his contract.
Walters, 26, has logged 50 innings in the bigs since 2009. The righty has a 4.27 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, and 0.8 HR/9 in 103 1/3 Triple-A innings this year, his fourth stint at the level. Baseball America ranked him 19th among Cardinals prospects prior to the season, praising his plus changeup but projecting a long relief/swingman role.
Jackson, 27, was traded for the fifth and sixth times in his career today. The 27-year-old flourished in nearly 200 innings with the White Sox, and improves a Cardinals rotation that ranks seventh in the NL with a 3.84 ERA. The acquisition gives the Cards the flexibility to move Kyle McClellan back to the bullpen, leaving a rotation of Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Jackson, Jake Westbrook, and Kyle Lohse. Jackson, a Scott Boras client, figures to test free agency after the season as a Type B. About $2.9MM remains on his contract.
The Cardinals' bullpen gets a lift from Dotel, Rzepczynski, and McClellan. Dotel, 37, has a 3.68 ERA, 9.2 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, 1.53 HR/9, and 28.6% groundball rate on the season; he excels against right-handed batters. Should the Cardinals turn down his $3.5MM club option, Dotel projects as a Type B free agent in the AL at the moment. If the option is declined, about $1.7MM remains on Dotel's contract.
Rzepczynski, 25, switched to full-time relief this year. He has a 2.97 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 0.46 HR/9, and strong 65.7% groundball rate in 39 1/3 innings this year. He complements Dotel nicely, having dominated lefties and struggled against righties. Rzepczynski is under team control through 2015. Dotel and Rzepczynski do not appear to be a threat to closer Fernando Salas, writes Dan Mennella of CloserNews.
Patterson, 31, is hitting .252/.287/.379 in 341 plate appearances for the Blue Jays this year. He restores a little bit of outfield depth for St. Louis.
Though there are eight players in this deal, it mostly boils down to the Cardinals renting Jackson and Dotel and getting Rzepczynski long-term in exchange for Rasmus' three arbitration years. It's hard to see this as anything but a win for the Blue Jays. Ultimately Rasmus cost the Jays Zach Stewart, Jason Frasor, Dotel, Rzepczynski, and Teahen's contract.
Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.
Though a deal was never presented to Beltran, the Indians offered to pick up all of his contract and send a good player to the Mets, reported MLB.com's Peter Gammons yesterday. Rasmus, meanwhile, may be headed elsewhere.
10:44am: Money appears to be the only holdup in a trade that would send Jackson to the Cardinals and Rasmus to the Blue Jays, tweets Rosenthal. An exchange of more than $1MM awaits approval, and of course the Cards will get more than just Jackson for Rasmus.
10:37am: Jackson is now being told a trade is official, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. He's shaking hands with staffers, tweets Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune from the White Sox clubhouse.
10:30am: The Cardinals continue to talk about Rasmus deals with the Blue Jays and other teams, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney, and the outfielder appears to be "very much available."
10:09am: Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that this deal is close but not complete, because the money exchange requires approval and the Jays are trying to spin Jackson to another team. That team may be the Cardinals, based on tweets from Joe Strauss, Jon Heyman, and Sherman. Sherman believes the Cardinals could also get a reliever and Colby Rasmus may be involved, but nothing is official. The Blue Jays have interest in Rasmus, tweets Morosi.
9:21am: The White Sox are in serious talks for a deal that would send starter Edwin Jackson and third baseman Mark Teahen to the Blue Jays for reliever Jason Frasor and a prospect, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal's colleague Jon Paul Morosi says this deal is close and money could be involved. The rumor was first reported ten hours ago on Twitter by a fellow named Doug Seyller.
The Jays' motivation for renting Jackson for two months and taking on a bad contract in Teahen is unclear. There doesn't appear to be a draft pick angle, as both Jackson and Frasor project as Type Bs. Perhaps Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos is considering flipping Jackson to a contender.
The White Sox were known to be seeking bullpen help, and Frasor has a club option for next year. The Sox could also subtract a reliever, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that they're talking to the Cardinals about Matt Thornton. Maybe Kenny Williams' goal in the Jackson trade is to shed the $9.7MM left on the contracts of the two veterans, though we need to see the quality of the prospect involved. Sox pitchers John Danks and Gavin Floyd are also on the market, according to Rosenthal. The White Sox are currently 4.5 games out in the AL Central with another game against the Tigers tonight.
12:08pm: The Cardinals will send Rasmus, Trever Miller, Brian Tallet, and P.J. Walters to the Blue Jays for Jackson, Rzepczynski, Dotel, and Corey Patterson, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney. Olney adds that Miller is then expected to be traded to the White Sox.
12:01pm: This trade is not yet official because of the money involved, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. He says that aspect may need to be reworked before it's approved.
11:35am: A trade of Rasmus to the Blue Jays for Jackson, Dotel, and Rzepczynski is imminent, reports Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He says an announcement could come early this afternoon.
11:22am: Edwin Jackson is definitely going to be traded by the Blue Jays, tweets SI's Jon Heyman. Heyman heard it's going to be for Cardinals outfielder Colby Rasmus. Rasmus being under team control through 2014 and still highly-regarded, the Cards will require more than just two months of Jackson. The two teams have talked about Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel, notes Olney, and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that the Cards asked about outfielder Eric Thames.
Rasmus is a popular trade target. ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Rays offered one of Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis, and Alex Cobb, and the young center fielder is very much available. The Indians have interest as well.
9:51pm: Manager Tony La Russa told KSDK TV-5 in St. Louis that Rasmus "doesn't listen" to Cardinals coaches, as Austin Laymance and Matthew Leach explain at MLB.com. "That's why he gets in these funks, in my opinion," La Russa said.
1:41pm: Cardinals GM John Mozeliak told Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio today that nothing has changed since he told Bowden at the All-Star game that he was not shopping Rasmus (Twitter link).
12:04pm: An AL official told Joel Sherman of the New York Post that the Cardinals "are definitely shopping" center fielder Colby Rasmus, despite public denials. The official says the Cards "are asking for a ton." Danny Knobler of CBS Sports agrees, tweeting that the Cards are shopping Rasmus widely. Knobler notes that the Nationals had a scout in St. Louis last night.
The White Sox and Rays have also been linked to Rasmus, but earlier this month GM John Mozeliak said a trade is "highly unlikely." The Mariners have also inquired, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, and Knobler notes that the Giants have watched Rasmus as a possible Carlos Beltran backup plan.
Even in a down year, the 24-year-old Rasmus is hitting .245/.332/.421 on the season. He's under team control through 2014.
My apologies for an earlier error in which I erroneously attributed the "asking for a ton" quote to the Rays and B.J. Upton.
MONDAY: White Sox GM Kenny Williams told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune that the report was not entirely accurate. "That, as reported, is incorrect," Williams said, without denying its validity outright (Twitter link).
SUNDAY: Despite publicly insisting they don't intend to trade Colby Rasmus, the Cardinals have engaged in discussions with the White Sox about the outfielder, reports Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Strauss says talks between the two teams have "accelerated" within the last few days.
According to Strauss, Edwin Jackson and Matt Thornton are among the players who could interest the Cardinals. The Cards would also be looking for minor league talent from the White Sox, and a third team "may be sought to facilitate a deal."
Saturday afternoon linkage..
- Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets that the Red Sox and White Sox have been scouting each other a lot in the past week, and it's not just for the upcoming series between the two. Speculation here (from Steve Adams), but both Edwin Jackson and Carlos Quentin were rumored to be potential White Sox trade chips earlier today, and both could help in Boston.
- Phillies prospect Brody Colvin left last night's start because of a groin injury, not because of anything trade-related, tweets FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
- Giants GM Brian Sabean says that his list of untouchables list is different than public perception, tweets Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Schulman wonders aloud if this means that Zack Wheeler might not be an untouchable.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has been making more calls than any other GM, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- The Cardinals aren't looking to move Colby Rasmus but they're exploring every possible way to improve, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
Steve Adams also contributed to this post.
ESPN.com's Buster Olney believes that the Braves are the frontrunners for Carlos Beltran right now thanks to their assortment of pitching prospects, such as left-hander Mike Minor (Twitter link). Click here for more details on Beltran and keep reading for more of Olney's rumors:
- General managers tell Olney that it's hard to obtain value for right-handed relievers now, since the market is flooded (Twitter link).
- Some teams are convinced that the Blue Jays’ interest in Heath Bell revolves around the reliever's Type A status, according to Olney (on Twitter). Bell projects as one of the top rated free agent relievers under the Elias free agent rankings.
- Olney reports that some rival executives believe the Cardinals would trade Colby Rasmus despite the fact that GM John Mozeliak says his center fielder is staying put (Twitter link).
The Rays, Nationals and Red Sox are among the teams that called the Cardinals about Colby Rasmus, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. However, GM John Mozeliak says he's "not shopping" his center fielder and insists that a deal remains "highly unlikely" (Twitter link).
Rasmus, who is arbitration eligible for the first time after the season, has a .241/.326/.404 line with nine home runs in 369 plate appearances this year. His 2012 salary will reach seven figures through arbitration and he's under team control through 2014.