The Rays first looked into acquiring Drew Rasmussen from the Brewers last offseason, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal writes, well before Tampa finally landed the right-hander as part of the Willy Adames trade in May. However, Tampa Bay’s interest in Rasmussen really dates back to when the Rays selected him with the 31st pick of the 2017 draft, though a signing never took place because a post-draft physical revealed elbow damage, and led to the second Tommy John surgery of Rasmussen’s young career.
The lack of a deal was a disappointment for both Rasmussen and for veteran Rays scout Paul Kirsch, who brought Rasmussen to the team’s attention after evaluating his high school outings. Kirsch did finally get to see Rasmussen pitch for the Rays in Seattle this past summer, which by that point counted as a rare trip to the ballpark for Kirsch after a three-year battle with ALS. Kirsch passed away in September, and Rosenthal’s piece serves as a moving tribute to Kirsch, a beloved figure in the Rays organization and around the scouting community.
More from around both the AL and NL East…
- The Phillies haven’t yet had any talks with manager Joe Girardi about his contract, though president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski admitted to media (including The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Scott Lauber) earlier this week that he “didn’t even know” about the Phillies’ club option on Girardi for 2023 until asked by a reporter. 2022 is the last guaranteed season of Girardi’s original three-year contract with the club, and Dombrowski didn’t believe the manager would be bothered by the lack of longer-term security, and added that “I think Joe did a good job for us.” Girardi is 110-112 in his first two seasons in Philadelphia, a lack of success that has largely been attributed to the Phillies’ leaky bullpen and flawed roster construction moreso than any specific failings on the manager’s part. Former Phils GM Matt Klentak hired Girardi after the 2019 season, before Dombrowski replaced Klentak last winter.
- Cedric Mullins’ tremendous season cemented him as a building block for the Orioles, and Jon Meoli of The Baltimore Sun figures Mullins, Austin Hays, and Anthony Santander have become the team’s top outfield combination heading into 2022, with Ryan McKenna likely the top bench option. The O’s have enough young outfield depth, however, that the position could be an area of surplus for the offseason. If the Orioles look to trade from this surplus, Santander’s name has surfaced in trade rumors in the past, but his stock has likely fallen after an injury-shortened season.
- Nationals president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo has already prioritized some offseason changes in how the Nats scout and develop their players, due to a lack of recent help in the minor league pipeline. The draft is the most glaring example of this issue, as MASNsports.com’s Mark Zuckerman notes that Anthony Rendon (picked sixth overall in 2011) is the last Washington draft pick taken in any round to generate more than 1.0 WAR for the team. Of course, the Nationals have lost their share of picks for compensation purposes, and they’ve also traded some prospects (Lucas Giolito, first and foremost) who went on to become established big leaguers for other teams. While these moves culminated in Washington’s 2019 World Series title, the thinned-out farm system has become more glaring in the wake of the Nationals’ 91-131 record since winning that championship.