Colby Rasmus Rumors
The Rays and Cardinals had serious talks about a trade that would have sent Colby Rasmus to Tampa Bay last year, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). The center fielder appeared to request a trade last summer, though he later denied doing so.
The Cardinals might be willing to move Rasmus now, though Strauss and colleague Bernie Miklasz suggest a deal is unlikely. Rasmus is the most attractive trade chip GM John Mozeliak has, but Miklasz expects the Cardinals and their center fielder to be “stuck with each other” for a while.
The Cardinals would most covet Jeremy Hellickson in a trade, according to Strauss. However, Tampa Bay doesn't necessarily covet Rasmus, especially at that price. Rays center fielder B.J. Upton homered in three of five games leading up to the All-Star break and his .239/.325/.427 line resembles Rasmus' .246/.329/.413 line.
On this date three years ago, the newly acquired C.C. Sabathia homered and pitched a complete game to help the Brewers beat the Reds 3-2. The Brewers' latest acquisition, Francisco Rodriguez, probably won't get too many chances to swing the bat this summer, but he could help Milwaukee reach the playoffs again...
- Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg told ESPN Chicago's "The Waddle & Silvy Show" that he wants to manage in the Major Leagues and would consider returning to Chicago if the Cubs asked him to manage at some point. Sandberg, who was a candidate for the Cubs' managerial opening over the winter, now manages Philadelphia's Triple-A affiliate. ESPNChicago.com has highlights from the conversation.
- The Pirates announced that they have signed fourth round pick Colten Brewer and eighth round pick Jason Creasy. Now that they've signed the pair of high school right-handers, Pittsburgh has locked up 16 players from last month's draft.
- The Rockies like Colby Rasmus, but don't match up well with the Cardinals on a potential trade, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter). The Cardinals might be willing to trade Rasmus, who ranks 41st on Dave Cameron's annual list of players with the most trade value at FanGraphs.com.
- Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said in a chat today that the Cardinals would most covet Jeremy Hellickson in a potential trade involving Rasmus and the Rays.
The Cardinals "might reconsider [their] stance" on trading center fielder Colby Rasmus, reports Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He adds that GM John Mozeliak "would have to acquire a significant return for Rasmus but may be willing to plumb long-standing interest from the pitching-rich Tampa Bay Rays."
Rasmus, 24, is showing "only halting development" in Strauss' opinion. He's hitting .246/.329/.413 with nine home runs in 360 plate appearances this season. That's solid for a center fielder, but a decline from last year's numbers. Defensively, Rasmus put up a strong UZR in '09 but has been below-average in over 1,800 center field innings since then. If Rasmus were to be traded, Jon Jay would become the Cardinals' starting center fielder.
Even with his stock slightly down, Rasmus would be a hot commodity on the trade market. I can see why he'd interest the Rays, who control center fielder B.J. Upton through 2012 but could control Rasmus through '14. Rasmus could jump past $3MM in arbitration next year against perhaps $7MM for Upton. Upton could be moved in a separate deal, though the Nationals would probably be interested in both center fielders. It'd be a big win for the Cardinals to somehow pry James Shields loose in a Rasmus deal, but with Shields' ace performance and his contract offering options through '14, a direct swap doesn't seem to benefit Tampa Bay enough.
The Central divisions are home to not just the four worst records in baseball (the Twins, Astros, Cubs and Royals) but also to the Cardinals and their MLB-best 37-25 record. Here's some news from the middle of the baseball map...
- Phil Humber's improbable journey from being a third overall pick to injury-riddled obscurity to a star in the White Sox rotation is chronicled by ESPNChicago's Jon Greenberg.
- The Cubs have no plans to rush Brett Jackson to the Major Leagues, reports MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. Jackson just recently returned to action after a finger injury. Muskat's piece also contains updates on several other Cubs prospects.
- The Cardinals would be "crazy" to think about dealing Colby Rasmus, writes Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- The Tigers took position players with 10 of their first 11 draft picks, and 24 of their first 29 picks were college players. Baseball America's John Wagner looks at how both trends were a departure from Detroit's recent draft strategies.
- Bill Hall has cleared waivers and is now a free agent, tweets Steve Campbell of the Houston Chronicle. Hall was put on release waivers by the Astros on Monday.
- The Astros can also claim the first signing of the 2011 Amateur Draft, as 44th-round pick Blake Ford told Stephen Goff of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link) that he will sign tonight. Ford, a right-hander from Lamar University, happened to have tickets to tonight's Astros-Cardinals game so he figured he would take care of his contract while at the ballpark. Also from Goff, the Astros have already signed two other draft picks.
The fact that the Pirates haven't had a winning season since 1992 isn't stopping new manager Clint Hurdle from aiming high in 2011. Speaking to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Hurdle said that "people can laugh," but Pittsburgh will head into the season with the goal of winning the NL Central. Here are the latest updates on the Pirates and the rest of the division they hope to win:
- Hurdle was a major factor in Lyle Overbay's decision to sign with the Pirates, as Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette explains.
- As ESPN's Buster Olney hinted yesterday on Twitter, Albert Pujols is serious about his Spring Training negotiating deadline. In Olney's Insider-only blog, he says that if the deadline passes without an extension in place, "all bets are off. Because the talks will shift from a nice one-on-one conversation between the Cardinals and their star player to being a straight bidding war."
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak tells Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that trade rumors surrounding Colby Rasmus were blown out of proportion. According to Mozelieak, most of the calls he received on Rasmus were from teams who were "bottom-fishing," thinking the Cards might part with the 24-year-old at a reduced price.
- The Astros will face a tough decision this year regarding the future of Wandy Rodriguez, writes Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle. Justice expects the team to try to extend the left-hander, a possibility the Astros and Rodriguez have already discussed, but cautions that "the money can't get crazy."
MLBTR wishes all of its American readers a very happy Thanksgiving. For those readers not from the USA...uh, happy Thursday! Onto some news items:
- "Three contending clubs" have a "persisting interest" in Colby Rasmus, tweets Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Strauss noted in a follow-up tweet that these are teams with a "new interest," so presumably that eliminates past suitors like the Braves, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks and White Sox. The Rasmus rumor mill seemed to have petered out, with the most recent report stating that there was a 99% chance that Rasmus would still be in St. Louis next season.
- Dennis Gilbert will not try to buy the Houston Astros, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com. Gilbert led a group bidding for the Rangers earlier this year and has been rumored to be a potential future ownership candidate for the Dodgers.
- The Twins are "very much in on" Tsuyoshi Nishioka, tweets Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman. We heard last week that Minnesota had an interest in the Japanese infielder.
- When Kevin Towers was general manager of the Padres, he planned to eventually bring Trevor Hoffman back to San Diego so the future Hall-of-Fame closer could retire as a Padre, tweets Fanhouse.com's Tom Krasovic. Though Towers has moved on to Arizona, Krasovic says there's a chance Hoffman could still return to San Diego now that Sandy Alderson and Paul DePodesta are no longer with the organization.
- Bill James talks to CBSSports.com's Evan Brunell about a variety of topics, including the new Mets front office, the Justin Upton trade rumors and what the Royals should do with Zack Greinke.
- Joe Pawlikowski of the River Ave Blues blog wishes the Derek Jeter negotiations moved as smoothly as Mike Mussina's contract talks with the Yankees after the 2006 season.
The Marlins wasted no time trading Dan Uggla this offseason, sending him to Atlanta for Omar Infante and Mike Dunn on Tuesday. The move came less than a week after the team broke off extension talks with their All Star second baseman due to a gap in negotiations.
Let's round up the latest Marlins' news in the wake of the trade...
- The Marlins repeatedly increased their contract offer to Uggla, tweets Clark Spencer of The Miami Herald, but he never backed down from five-years, $71MM. The original offer was four years and $48MM.
- Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post says (via Twitter) that the Fish had substantial trade talks with five teams about their second baseman.
- The Cardinals had interest in Uggla but balked at the Marlins' asking price of Colby Rasmus, tweets Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says (via Twitter) that the Blue Jays had the most early interest in Uggla, offering prospects RHP Josh Roenicke, RHP Danny Farquhar, and either SS Ryan Goins or OF Darin Mastroianni.
- MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez tweets that Marlins exec Larry Beinfest said the money that would have gone to Uggla will be spent elsewhere, and not coincidentally Carl Pavano is now an option for them according to Capozzi (Twitter link).
- Meanwhile, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick says Florida originally asked Atlanta for Martin Prado in exchange for their second baseman, but later settled on Omar Infante.
Cardinals GM John Mozeliak would like to begin talks on an Albert Pujols extension "between now and the Christmas holiday," he told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Strauss has a source who believes Pujols "is unlikely to revisit the matter once the 2011 season opens." At the least, Pujols figures to sign the third-largest contract in baseball history whether this winter or as a free agent after the '11 season.
Regarding infield upgrades, Mozeliak told Strauss Sunday that "we probably have more of an emphasis on short than second at this point." They'd also like a utility infielder to back up David Freese at third base. Unless Dan Uggla fits into the picture somewhere, free agents Juan Uribe and Miguel Tejada are on the Cardinals' radar according to Strauss. Though they also have an eye on recently-posted infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Mozeliak "indicated the timing may not be right for the club to make such a heavy commitment for a Pacific Rim player."
It's becoming more and more clear the Cardinals won't be moving Colby Rasmus; today Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports quoted a source who sees a 99% chance of the center fielder staying put. Indeed, Mozeliak told Strauss Sunday that Rasmus is "almost impossible to replace."
Let's round up the latest from the Windy City in one post. First up, Paul Sullivan of The Chicago Tribune with the latest on the Cubs...
- The Cubbies will not go overboard with their free agent spending because they vow to decrease payroll, so GM Jim Hendry needs to get creative to placate the fan base.
- First base is the team's first priority and they'd like to acquire a lefty bat, so Adam Dunn is a popular target. If they can't afford him, they could turn to Aubrey Huff or Victor Martinez.
- The Cubs might need to trade Kosuke Fukudome before signing any free agents, which won't be easy since he's owed $13.5MM in 2011. Hendry did find a taker for Milton Bradley last offseason though, so you never know.
- Starting pitching is also on the team's wishlist. Jon Garland could be one option after hinting at being interested in pitching for the Cubs last offseason.
- They would also like to add a veteran reliever to take some pressure off their young kids, but it's unclear if Kerry Wood will take a pay cut and assume a lesser role to return to the Cubs.
Now we'll head to the south side with Mark Gonzales of The Chicago Tribune...
- The White Sox already have $80.4MM committed to just 13 players for next season, and that doesn't include what is likely to be a sizable arbitration raise for John Danks. That puts them in a bit of bind when it comes to adding a left-handed bat.
- They don't match up with the Cardinals for Colby Rasmus, who they're said to be targeting, though a trade is probably the route they'll have to go to add a bat.
- GM Kenny Williams could try to fill several holes by trading one player, which he did when he sent Javier Vazquez to the Braves and Nick Swisher to the Yankees two years ago. He could use one of excess starters, perhaps Edwin Jackson or Gavin Floyd. That last part is just my speculation though.
- The ChiSox also need to determine whether Carlos Quentin can return to his 2008 level, or if injuries will continue to take a toll.
- They could look to make trades soon, then examine the pool of non-tenders for affordable relief help.
Here are some news items from the National League's middle division...
- Ryne Sandberg has turned down an offer to return as the Cubs' Triple-A manager, tweets MLB.com's Carrie Muskat, and Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reports that Sandberg won't be with the organization at all in 2011. Sandberg was heavily rumored to take over managing the Cubs after Lou Piniella's retirement, but Chicago instead gave the job to interim manager Mike Quade.
- A roundtable of Cardinals writers collected by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch discussed the Colby Rasmus trade rumors and the majority don't like the idea. Comments range from "there would be no logic behind a trade" to "trading Rasmus would be incredibly stupid unless it’s an offer that’s so ridiculously good that it cannot be rejected."
- Pirates president Frank Coonelly discussed the team's manager search and other topics in a chat with fans on MLB.com.
- Steven Jackson, Brandon Moss and Justin Thomas can all become minor league free agents after being outrighted to Pittsburgh's Triple-A affiliate, reports MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. Sean Gallagher, who was also outrighted, can declare free agency on Saturday but Langosch says the Pirates will try to sign the pitcher to a contract before then.
- Walt Jocketty tells MLB.com's Mark Sheldon that the Reds want to work out a contract extension with Bronson Arroyo before Opening Day. "I don't want to go into the season negotiating," Sheldon said. "We'll try to [get it done] before the start of the season."
- Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times praises Milwaukee's hire of Ron Roenicke as manager.
- Former Phillies hitting coach Milt Thompson has interviewed for the hitting coach job in Houston, reports MLB.com's Brian McTaggart.