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Colby Rasmus’ father is at it again, says it’s “fairly obvious” his son needs to be traded…

Jun 11, 2011, 12:15 PM EDT

St Louis Cardinals v Colorado Rockies Getty Images

Just six months ago, we discovered the father of Cardinals center fielder Colby Rasmus taking public jabs at the organization that his son plays for on a fan blog called The Cardinal Nation.

Winter has passed and the dog days of the 2011 regular season have nearly set in. St. Louis stands alone atop the National League Central and boasts one of the best records in baseball at 38-27. Tony Rasmus, though, is still jabbing away.

In a Cardinal Nation post dated to last Sunday at 9:17am Central Time, the elder Rasmus writes:

Alberts not going anywhere. He’ll end his career right where he sits today, St. Louis. He’ll get 7 or 8 years, over 200 million, and he deserves it. He is the type of player that St. Louis covets and there could be no positive to come out of letting him go elsewhere.

With Albert, Matt, Waino, Jaime, and Yadi leading the way and really good young players in Craig, Jay, Freese, M Carpenter, Salas, Sanchez, Descalso already making a name for themselves and Chambers, Ryan Jackson on the move to the show, the cardinals will be right at the top of the division for every one of Albert’s years in St. Louis. He is not a dummy. He is a GOD here, and the team will remain winners for the duration of his career.

You’ll notice that Tony Rasmus left out his son’s name when listing the players that will be “leading the way” for the Cardinals in the future. A Cardinal Nation commenter probed for more. Here’s Tony’s response:

I believe its fairly obvious that Colby needs to be somewhere else. I highly doubt he will be in St. Louis for the Albert Pujol’s new contract duration. I don’t think Colby will ever be good enough to play in St. Louis. But I knew this way back.

First let’s tackle that last part, where Tony suggests that Colby “will never be good enough to play in St. Louis.” Tony isn’t talking about defensive or offensive production, he’s talking about fanbase perception.

Rasmus is plenty popular and plenty well-liked in most circles of Cardinals supporters, but he makes semi-regular miscues at a position that was manned for a long time by Jim Edmonds, one of the greatest defensive center fielders in the history of the sport. Add to that the fact that Colby has been streaky at the plate this season and isn’t especially eloquent in interviews, and you get a few outlying fans who have wondered aloud whether he should be shopped around. That call for a trade, though only mildly audible, even spawned a column from St. Louis Post-Dispatch big dog Bernie Miklasz on Wednesday.

Colby isn’t completely innocent in all of this. You might remember from this winter’s controversy that Rasmus has already requested two trades in his two-plus seasons with the major league club. He’s had trouble growing comfortable with Tony La Russa’s managing style, which calls for an active 25-man roster and frequent playing time for backups, and there are times when Colby has operated too passively in center field.

It looked early on this season like Rasmus and La Russa had mended their issues. Colby opened with a shiny .290/.374/.450 batting line in the month of April. He had a quality .873 OPS on May 12. But he’s tallied just 19 hits in his last 94 at-bats and went 0-for-7 last weekend in Chicago, the same weekend Tony Rasmus decided to speak up again about his problems with the Cardinals organization on a fan blog.

By all accounts the father and son talk often. Tony spoke of a recent hitting session that he ran for Colby in some of these same Cardinal Nation comment threads, and it’s possible that the two shared a conversation after Colby’s frustrating weekend at Wrigley Field. Which is why we’re suspecting, for the second time in six months, that Tony Rasmus might be in his kid’s ear about pushing for an exit from the Cardinals.

A Rasmus trade would be bad business. He’s earning just $443,000 this year and will be a cost-effective player for another three seasons. Not to mention, he’s one of the top five all-around center fielders in the game at present. If the Cardinals are going to buck up and commit $200 million or more to a long-term pact with Albert Pujols, they’ll need production from inexpensive players, and Raz works right into that strategy.

Colby is in the starting lineup more frequently than ever before here in 2011 and seems to be getting along just fine with La Russa. But perhaps something is brewing in the clubhouse, and what happens if Colby’s current slump runs deeper into the summer? What if Tony Rasmus’ opinions about the way his son is perceived in St. Louis lead to trade request No. 3? It’d be truly unfortunate timing for the red-hot Redbirds.

  1. pisano - Jun 11, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    Hey, have them contact the Yankees I’m sure they would trade Swisher and a minor league player or two for him. Just a thought.

    • yankeesfanlen - Jun 11, 2011 at 2:22 PM

      I’ll stick with Swish, thank you.

      • smarterthangirardi - Jun 11, 2011 at 8:45 PM

        In a world without Tony Rasmus I would take this deal seeing that Swisher is not producing this season. But thats fantasy land and I’m perfectly fine with that.

  2. spudchukar - Jun 11, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    Because his play has been so inconsistent, there have been evenings after games when I wanted the Red Birds to make a move. After another bone-headed night in which my girl friend had to listen to another tirade as to the lack-luster effort on a very catchable flyball, the following day she peeked in to the room in which I watch Cardinal games on the computer and queried, “Why do they play him if he screws up so much?” It just so happened that she asked that just as he hit a grand slam against the Giants. The answer is simple, “Because he can do that”.

    I hear excuses all the time for Rasmus, “He is young and learning”, “He is quiet and shy by nature”, “He is easily intimidated by his more popular teammates” etc, etc. One thing is certain, he is enormously talented. There isn’t anything that he cannot do, and by most accounts his power numbers should be his most valued assests. And quite frankly, he has made improvements and his play is passable if compared to most 24-year-old centerfielders, but that said, watching him on a day-to-day basis is frustrating in the least, and often hair-pulling. Most of his blunders are on the mental side. Throwing to the wrong base, being called out in crucial situations, not getting good jumps on balls, and very, very passive play in the outfield, the latter his most glaring deficiency. Last night was no exception. Craig Counsel blasted one to deep right-center field, John Jay raced back to the wall where it juts out in Milwaukee, but the ball was out of his reach, bounces off the wall, and where was Colby? Not backing up the play, standing idly in center spectating, an obvious screw-up as Jay was forced to track down the ball and Counsel cruised into third when he easily could have been held at second with any effort from Rasmus.

    So is Tony Rasmus correct, should they move him? The development of John Jay certainly helps beg the question. While not as gifted, and 2 years older, the young Jay is proving to be a viable alternative. With the return of Holliday in about a week, serious thought will be given to playing time for the two. With Berkman in right and Holliday in left, centerfield needs to be manned by an agressive player who can cover alot of ground, Jay meets these requirements(he gets a great jump on the ball), and Rasmus only meets one. Going forward as the pennant race hopefully continues the thought of Rasmus manning centerfield in tough, grinding, stressful August and September is worrisome. But with the success of other youngsters, the question arises, what do the Cards need?
    Maybe another starter, with a return of McClellan to the bullpen, but to date that would not only be unfair but maybe unwise. Theriot has struggled defensively at SS, but his offense has been stellar, and Punto’s return and late-inning replacement alleviates alot of that issue. Bullpen help perhaps, but Salas has been a godsend, and Sanchez while shaky at times with his command, is talented and effective. Second base has been a sore spot for sometime, but with Craig’s parttime play there, coupled with Punto and Descalso and Schumaker, the need has diminished.

    The other question is who. Washington for instance, would seem to be a good fit, but who could they give up in return. Soren is an option, but the Cards would probably insist on more. Espinoza and Soren would probably get it done, but I am not sure the Nats want to offer up two possible stars for Rasmus. If Desmond was dependable, he and Clippard for instance, might be an alternative, but I am sure the Cards would hesitate inserting an unreliable SS in a pennant drive.

    It is a dilemma but one that may be coming to a head. One question for Tony Rasmus though, “Did you ever consider teaching your son the value of playing hard and learning the nuances of the game that would allow him to utilize his awesome talents?”

    • paperlions - Jun 11, 2011 at 1:45 PM

      I agree with pretty much everything you said. I love Rasmus’ talent. His unwillingness to take control in CF is frustrating….is it that hard to yell “I got it” a few times on balls in the gaps? Seriously. Ugh.

      Based on the fact that his father won’t STFU, I would bet that a large part of Colby’s inability to take charge is the fact that his domineering father would always jump in so that Colby never learned to fend for or defend himself. Hey Dad, it’s your kid’s life, not yours. Shut up and get out of the way, let him lead his own life for once.

      Colby seems like a sensitive kid, it seems that he is streaky, in part, because a couple of bad plays or bad at bats weigh on his mind, he just can’t let them go and focus of the present.

      At this point, I think his father is a big part of the problem. What good does he possibly think will come out of such public comments? All such things will do is put additional and unnecessary pressure on Colby. The best think LaRussa can do at this point is to support Colby to try to put the kid’s mind at ease and to tell him not to worry about the other stuff.

      • spudchukar - Jun 11, 2011 at 2:26 PM

        Dealing with Rasmus is certainly a conundrum. Much like the old joke about women, “You can’t live with ’em, and you can’t live without ’em”, or the equally poignant “You can’t live with ’em and you can’t kill ’em”. And you are correct, any additional mental pressure on the kid will certainly only make matters worse, and it seems like both LaRussa and Pujols have come to the same conclusion and have tried to take on the role of supportive teacher and teammate this year. Almost all of his mistakes are predicated on fear. Afraid to swing at borderline pitches, afraid to call off other outfielders, afraid to take command in center, afraid to cut loose with a throw, and afraid to speak with the media. Not to play armchair psychologist, but it screams of paternal domination, and the fear of not being able to please the dad.

      • paperlions - Jun 11, 2011 at 2:41 PM

        Agree completely. The more data the dad gives us, the more clear the link between Colby’s behavior and the dad’s personality appears to be.

  3. Drew Silva - Jun 11, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    It’s probably worth adding that Pujols, who rarely says controversial things, advocated trading Rasmus last September upon hearing about the first trade request.

    “We need to figure out a way to get him out of here,” said ‘Bert. “That’ll show you right there a young player that doesn’t respect what he’s got. He needs to find out the talent and ability that he has and pretty much keep his mouth shut and play the game. Let the organization make those decisions, not himself.”

    • paperlions - Jun 11, 2011 at 2:16 PM

      Yes, but didn’t he say that in response to a reporter asking him about Rasmus requesting a trade, which was never confirmed by anyone (or at least was denied by both Rasmus and Mo). If memory serves, it was LaRussa that decided it was a good idea to go to the press and say that Colby asked for a trade….talk about Bush league. LaRussa can be a “my way or the highway” kind of guy….I wouldn’t be surprised if the discussion didn’t go something like:

      LaRussa: “If you can’t make the adjustments I want and change your approach at the plate, maybe we should send you down or trade you.”
      Rasmus: “Maybe you should.”

      Rasmus can’t even take control in the OF, does he really seem like a guy that would walk into the Mgr’s or GMs office and ask for a trade?

      • spudchukar - Jun 11, 2011 at 2:27 PM

        If his Dad was pushing him to do so, Yes.

      • paperlions - Jun 11, 2011 at 2:48 PM

        True enough. Can someone have Papa Rasmus call up Colby and tell him to take charge on every fly ball he can get to?

        The kid has great range, but doesn’t think that every ball in the air his…which is what a good CF thinks.

  4. xmatt0926x - Jun 11, 2011 at 1:56 PM

    In my city we’ve had both a star quarterback and star hockey player who had parents that felt the need to constantly interject their opinions on various blogs and media outlets and it just brings so much trouble and the player comes off as a wimpy kid who’s life is run by their parents even into adulthood. Rasmus needs to tell daddy to shut up once and for all and to stop looking for attention for himself. There is no reason his dad can’t keep his suggestions behind the scenes for the sake of his sons relationship with his coaches and teammates who will also eventually tire of this act.

  5. doslea33 - Jun 11, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    Perhaps if people read all of Tony Rasmus’s comments on The Cardinal Nation blog instead of reacting to one comment on one day taken out of context, you all wouldn’t be making fools of yourself on the internet speculating about things you know nothing about.

    Colby is a grown man who makes his own decisions. Tony Rasmus has stated time and again on that blog that he doesn’t influence Colby. He avoids talking baseball with Colby. He isn’t happy with Colby’s play in CF either. Only Colby knows why he plays the way he does and only Colby can fix it, if he wants to. The reason Tony Rasmus talks about a trade is because he thinks that Colby will do better elsewhere. Whether that is true or not nobody knows but you can’t blame a parent for wanting what is best for his son. As for commenting publicly, is there a law that says a player’s parent can’t express their opinion on the internet? Does Freedom of Speech have such limitations? He is giving his opinion the same as everyone freely does and he shouldn’t be condemned for it. If you don’t like it, ignore it.

    • spudchukar - Jun 11, 2011 at 3:51 PM

      No one here is suggesting his father doesn’t have the right to express his opinion in any format he chooses. The wisdom of such a choice is the bone of contention. Plus the notion that critics of Rasmus’ play neither understand nor have a place critiquing the father’s comments is risible. Of course, a parent should want for a son’s success, but where is he going to be handled better than in St. Louis? And if he believes his son is being mismanaged, then the prudent approach would be to express his concerns through back channels. In my opinion, the majority of the damage that the Dad has done is in the past tense, and current meddling, particularly through comments on a blog, is doing nothing but adding additional pressure on a kid and a situation that is complex, fragile, needing rational attention, none of which a domineering father has shown the inability to positively affect.

      • doslea33 - Jun 11, 2011 at 4:28 PM

        How do you know what Tony Rasmus has or hasn’t done? That is my point. Some writer takes a few comments on a blog out of context and suddenly everyone has it all figured out. And furthermore, suggesting Colby can’t be “handled” better anywhere other than St. Louis is a little bit arrogant. NEWSFLASH: St. Louis is not the be all and end all of MLB. And I say that as a Cardinal fan for 40 years. Sometimes certain players just don’t mesh well with the Cardinal organization Case in point, Brendan Ryan. Maybe Colby is another such instance. I think Colby’s dad probably knows his son better than anybody on this forum, including the writer of this article.

    • skerney - Jun 11, 2011 at 4:34 PM

      Once again everyone, freedom of speech means the government cannot censor you, that’s it. If Tony Rasmus makes comments on a blog, everyone else can make comments on this blog about Tony Rasmus. He’s fair game. There is no being “taken out of context” here. It is very clear what Tony Rasmus means when he talks about his sons future in St. Louis. He is leaving himself open to criticism with comments like that and all baseball fans are justified in chiming in. If you don’t like it, ignore it.

      • doslea33 - Jun 11, 2011 at 4:48 PM

        Oh by all means you can comment as you please. I was only suggesting you know all the facts before you make a fool of yourself speculating. “It is very clear”? Really? According to who, you? It isn’t clear to me at all. I prefer to know what I am talking about first. I don’t know Tony Rasmus or Colby Rasmus and I am not in the clubhouse every day to see what goes on. Unless you do know, then pardon me if your comments lack credibility. Just me chiming in.

      • thebian1960 - Jun 11, 2011 at 8:23 PM

        Everyone has the freedom of speech but a person must think before he speeks as well. I don’t want to speek about what i don’t know so i will talk just about what i have read here. Here is one quot from doslea33 ” He isn’t happy with Colby’s play in CF either.” What a father thinks about his son can effect the son. Negetive remarks from his own father could weight on his mind more than what Tony LaRussa or any number of fans might say. It’s just my opionion but Colby Rasmus could probley get past what everyone else says and make the ajustments to better himself if he didn’t have the added preasure of feeling he is failing his own father. Now this might have come off a little sappy but that is what this whole situation has turned out to be. And as for all the fans that are bashing him. He has the tools and the talent. Some players take longer than others. As the old saying goes”Never judge a man till you have walked a mile in his shows”. I don’t know about the rest of you but this old Cardinal fan from southern Illinois has never walked in a pro baseball players shoes.

  6. spudchukar - Jun 11, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    *Er, ability

  7. okwhitefalcon - Jun 11, 2011 at 4:26 PM

    Here’s Tony Rasmus on The SportZone with Rob and BJ Rains June 9th talking (and not glowingly) about
    his sons lackluster play…

    Highlights here:

    Scroll half way down to:
    6.09.11 Segment 2
    Is Colby Rasmus playing too conservatively? Colby’s dad, Tony Rasmus, joins the show and suggests that change in play is needed.

    The entire interview can be heard here:

  8. Jonny 5 - Jun 13, 2011 at 9:59 AM

    The elder Rasmus seems to be more concerned with his son’s development than the teams success. Go figure, right? Tony LaRussa is more concerned with the entire team winning than Rasmus developing. Go Figure, right?

    The fact is, Rasmus could develop into a superstar on quite a few teams. The Cards are not one of those teams. This is the problem that the elder Rasmus sees. The problem is in the fact that his meddling will scare away possible suitors, so he really should shut up and step back a bit.

  9. doslea33 - Jun 13, 2011 at 10:41 AM

  10. thefalcon123 - Jun 14, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    In his time in St. Louis, Jim Edmonds put up one of the best peaks by a center fielder in baseball history. No, he wasn’t Griffey/Mays/Speaker/Mantle, but from 2000-2005, he posted a .989 OPS, an average of 6 WAR per season and the most fun to watch defensive center field in the game (note that I said fun to watch and not best). Colby’s crime is that he’s not as good as Edmonds, which is a pretty unfair comparison. So…you’re complaining that he’s not as good as (arguably) the 2nd best center fielder in baseball since the decline of Willie Mays (behind Griffey and depending on if you believe Andruw Jones closes the hitting gap with his absurd defense)? Shouldn’t Cardinals fans be perfectly happy if Colby just continues his Ray Lankford impression…who was a pretty damn fine ball player?

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