Outfielder Colby Rasmus, who signed a one-year, $8MM contract with the Astros this offseason, sat down with Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this past weekend to discuss his tumultuous tenure with the Cardinals, and in doing so, he revealed an interesting view of his future in the sport. Rasmus told Hummel that he wasn’t eyeing a particularly lengthy career. Rather, he hopes to play this season in Houston, then possibly play for another three years before retiring to his recently purchased cattle ranch to spend time with his wife and two daughters.
“I’m getting a little older now” said the 28-year-old Rasmus. “I’ve been taking a beating on this body. I’m a lot older than I used to be. Playing on that turf in Toronto was pretty tough. It has a nice slab of concrete underneath and I was diving on it. I didn’t baby myself and take it easy.”
While one can hardly blame Rasmus for wanting to spend time with his family, it’s rare to hear a player express a desire to retire at such a young age. Rasmus will only have recently turned 32 at the end of the 2018 season — an age at which many are still in the latter stages of their prime and seeking lucrative multi-year deals on the free agent market.
Rasmus won’t likely be hurting for money by that point; he’ll have earned more than $23MM in salary by the end of this season alone (plus a $1MM signing bonus from the draft), and another three years of market-value salary could easily double that sum, if not more, depending on how Rasmus plays in 2015.
Still, this is certainly something to bear in mind as Rasmus approaches free agency again next offseason. While it’s entirely possible that a new environment and getting away from artificial turf will change Rasmus’ tune when it comes to his future, sticking to this desire would create a rare scenario in which a player in the midst of his physical prime would seek a limited contract in terms of years.
As such, a big season from Rasmus in Houston could lead to a very interesting trip through the free agent market, with teams potentially bidding aggressively in terms of average annual value, knowing that the allure of additional years won’t necessarily hold appeal. Of course, with a big enough season — e.g. something similar to his .276/.338/.501 batting line from 2013 — teams may very well try to test his convictions by offering longer-term deals at a price that’s difficult to turn down.