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Cardinals are “shopping Colby Rasmus widely”

Jul 26, 2011, 1:30 PM EDT

Colby Rasmus AP

I guess we’ll soon see just how badly Colby Rasmus and his old man have angered the Cardinals.  Let’s put two tweets together, shall we?

First, Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.com:  “Cards now appear to be shopping Rasmus widely.”

Then Jon Paul Morosi of Fox: “Mariners among the teams that have inquired on Rasmus, source says.”

Really, there is nothing more akin to being shipped off to Siberia in today’s Major League Baseball than being traded to the Mariners.  If the Cards were to do that, and were to do it at a time when Rasmus has less value than he’s ever had, that would probably tell you everything you need to know about how that organization feels about him.

  1. spudchukar - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:51 PM

    The move that still makes the most sense is with the Nats. Clippard and Desmond for Rasmus. The heavily right-handed Nats need a centerfielder, and left-handed thunder, and the Cards need bullpen help and a shortstop. It is hard to see how the White Sox can match Washington. Thornton and Jackson do not measure up. If Vizquel is included it could perhaps solve the SS area for a short while, but Descalso may be just as viable an option. The Nats keep saying they want to bring up Lombardozzi and move Espinoza to SS, and they have other options in the bullpen. Come on Rizzo, pull the trigger.

    • seanmk - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:03 PM

      that’s a pretty solid return and probably the best package i’ve seen for rasmus and makes the most sense. 4 years of control left on desmond and 4 years left on clippard for a 3 years of control for rasmus. fits needs for both teams. it’s too good to happen though

    • Mark - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:26 PM

      Rizzo isn’t the one who says no to that deal, FYI.

      I guess that package makes sense if you think Desmond is a good player. His minor league track record isn’t anything to write home about (259/326/388), and his major league numbers have only gotten worse over time (he’s “hitting” 226/273/310 now after 269/308/392 last year).

      At what point do we have to accept that a guy with no plate discipline and a terrible strike out rate for someone with no power isn’t going to be more promising than Rasmus? His down year is still better than anything Desmond has done.

      Didn’t Rasmus lead all CF’s in OPS last year? I don’t care how annoying him or his dad are, you don’t sell low on him now.

      And just in case someone asks, no, I’m not a Cards fan.

      • spudchukar - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:44 PM

        If you have talked with Rizzo recently, then I stand corrected, otherwise how do you know? Clippard has closer stuff, appears to have the make-up, and is cheap. Desmond, carries risk, but he has Major League short stop talent. Just look at a couple of plays he made last week. Plus currently Theriot has a .269/.315/.641 line, and has regressed to the degree that St. Louis is choosing Descalso, who has not played SS since Little League. Desmond also is 20 of 24 in SBs, and Theriot the Cards leadoff man is 4 of 8.

        It is true that Desmond makes too many errors, has concentration issues at times, but as you noted he did hit .269 last year, with 41 extra base hits. The Cards are looking for help now, not down the road, and their two most glaring weaknesses are SS, and late relievers.

      • Mark - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:54 PM

        How do I know Rizzo wouldn’t say no to that? Because he’d have to be absolutely stupid to say no to flipping his replacement level shortstop and a CL for a CF who in a down year is likely to be a 2.5-3 win player.

        Yes, Clippard is an excellent RP, but no RP is worth a guy who can post an 850 OPS as a CF who is 22/23 year old. UZR may not be the best stat, but so far Desmond hasn’t been a good defensive SS. And the risk you speak of, is the fact that he’s unlikely to hit more than a 700 OPS. That’s very bad, especially when the guy you’re trading (Rasmus) also has shown an ability to post an 800 + OPS while playing a critical defensive position.

        The SB are pretty irrelevant, because while Desmond has stolen a few bases, he’s also decided that getting on base isn’t his cup of tea. 273 this season, and 296 for his career. Desmond makes far too many outs to be considered useful, and because of his lack of on base skills he can’t take advantage of his SB ability to the degree he should.

        The Cards weakness may be at SS, but they’d be weakening BOTH CF AND SS by trading Rasmus for Desmond. Instead of having one weakness in SS and no weakness in CF. The Cards bullpen isn’t a strength either, but that doesn’t mean they should trade Rasmus to get it.

        I understand why you want this deal to get done – it’s an absolute steal for the Nats. But it just makes no sense for the Cards. It’s essentially the same as asking for Zimmerman and offering Jon Jay (who could play a decent CF*) and Fernando Salas (because he’s got closer stuff!1!). Obviously that’s a bigger rip off because Zimmerman is better than Rasmus, but it’s effectively the same concept.

        *Jon Jay actually can’t play a good CF.

      • b7p19 - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:00 PM

        Yeah, Spuds, he’s right. In 1,000 PA Desmond has an OPB of less than .300 and he’s turning 27 in a month. We have seen what Desmond is and he’s not a ML SS. It’ll take more than Desmond and Clippard.

      • spudchukar - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:21 PM

        A number of your comments are valid, but here are a few things to consider. First, you are dead wrong about Jay’s defensive prowess. And please, quoting UZR stats is a disservice to the wonderful contributions Sabermetrics has offered. He would not be starting in CF, if he were not vastly superior defensively. According to Baseball-Reference.com Desmond is currently 25. The only SSs I am aware of that are available are Furcal and Vizquel. St. Louis knows they must improve in the bullpen and SS if they are going to top the Brewers, Reds, and Pirates. They also lack a lead-off hitter with speed, and while Desmond’s OBP isn’t anything to get excited about, it matches Theriot, so it is a significant upgrade there. Originally, I had hoped to include Burnett,(who is struggling) or maybe Detwiler as the Cards also could use an upgrade in the lefty reliever department, but I figured that might be asking too much.

        If you are the Cards, have Rasmus watching his replacement from the pine, and have dire needs at SS and RP, where else do you find a better option?

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:28 PM

        You find a better option in the off season if need be. You don’t deal a potential franchise player who has shown at the big league level the potential he has out of desperation in July. In short you are saying that Desmond is a significant upgrade over Theirot….that is extremely debatable. I say it is pretty much a wash. So the two questions one has to ask is this: 1. Would the addition of a single bullpen arm help us reach the ultimate goal of winning the World Series? 2. Is acquiring said bullpen arm worth potentially losing out on a better deal in the winter while sacrificing a player who is a budding star?

      • spudchukar - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:35 PM

        Perhaps on the Planets of the Apes, good Dr., The Desmond/Theriot contrasts are debatable, but not in the separate reality of St. Louis. It pains me to say so but Theriot is the worst fielding SS I have ever witnessed in professional baseball, and this is not hyperbole.

      • spudchukar - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:46 PM

        As a Cards fan, the wait til next year advise rings hollow. Remember, we are not guaranteed the return of Pujols, Berkman or Carpenter. Because both the Phils and Giants have glaring weaknesses offensively, I do not view them as the shoo-ins as the only legitimate NL teams to vie for the World Series. Anytime you have a veteran team, the time is now. Plus knowledgeable baseball people know Rasmus’ upside and they are not going to suddenly remember it this winter. If we can get the necessary pieces to make a play-off run in 2011, we would be foolish not to go for it. Especially, when the player in question, while immensely talented, cannot break into your starting line-up, because his apprehensive nature prevents him from actualizing said talent.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:53 PM

        And you think that Desmond and Clippard will put the Cards over the top? With that line of logic, why don’t the Cards deal Shelby Miller too?

      • paperlions - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:55 PM

        Spud, Desmond is horrible….a sub-300 OBP is unplayable, even at SS, when it comes with an average glove and no power.

        That would be a horrible trade for the Cardinals, Desmond wouldn’t improve their chances of winning over just playing Erriot…they are both replacement level players. Why give away a talented player in a deal that makes no difference this year and creates gaps next year….how long with Berkman really be able to play OF?

        I can’t help but think this is entire scenario is a product of the Tony’s. There are other young OFs struggling…who suggests that the Braves trade Heyward, who is struggling to stay healthy or be productive? If you have talented players, you put them in and let them figure it out, sometimes that may require patience and even letting them struggle for a while without yanking them around. For one reason or another Rasmus doesn’t get the latitude of other players that fuck up all the time (Skip, Erriot).

        Last year, at 23 yrs of age, Rasmus was a 4-win player and the 9th best CF in baseball (according to WAR)….giving that guy away for a replacement-level SS and a 70 inning pitcher is plain silly.

      • paperlions - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:58 PM

        The fact that Pujols and Berkman and Carpenter might not be back next year ARE REASONS TO HOLD ON TO RASMUS, NOT TO SELL HIM FOR 25 CENTS ON THE DOLLAR.

        Ahem, sorry about that…..if you are not a team that can buy your roster, and the Cardinals are not, then you have to maximize your young, cheap talent….not give it away.

      • Mark - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:12 PM

        “A number of your comments are valid, but here are a few things to consider. First, you are dead wrong about Jay’s defensive prowess.”

        And this would be based on what, exactly?

        “And please, quoting UZR stats is a disservice to the wonderful contributions Sabermetrics has offered.”

        Look, at this point UZR is the best available method we have to evaluate defense. Nobody is saying it’s 100% accurate. It’s merely a guide that should be used, preferably by averaging 2-3 years worth of data.

        Would you rather I made a silly argument about how I watched him play, or errors? Because that would be worse than using UZR.

        “He would not be starting in CF, if he were not vastly superior defensively.”

        That was my point. He isn’t a starting CF, just like Desmond isn’t a major league calibre SS.

        ” According to Baseball-Reference.com Desmond is currently 25. The only SSs I am aware of that are available are Furcal and Vizquel. St. Louis knows they must improve in the bullpen and SS if they are going to top the Brewers, Reds, and Pirates. They also lack a lead-off hitter with speed, and while Desmond’s OBP isn’t anything to get excited about, it matches Theriot, so it is a significant upgrade there.”

        Couple things there. Just because he’s better than Furcal/Vizquel, doesn’t mean the Cards should be running to them. And again, while the Cards could use a bullpen upgrade, the drop off from Rasmus to the next CF is greater than the gap from Theriot to Desmond and replacing Clippard in the pen.

        If Desmond’s OBP isn’t “anything to get excited about” (and in fact, it’s cause for ALARM), then A) he shouldn’t lead off, and B) he probably shouldn’t be starting either. So what if he’s faster then Theriot? He’s still not a good hitter. Can’t steal first base, which appears to be Desmond’s biggest problem.

        “Originally, I had hoped to include Burnett,(who is struggling) or maybe Detwiler as the Cards also could use an upgrade in the lefty reliever department, but I figured that might be asking too much.”

        You don’t think THIS is asking for too much?

        “If you are the Cards, have Rasmus watching his replacement from the pine, and have dire needs at SS and RP, where else do you find a better option?”

        How about Alexi Ramirez, JJ Hardy, Jamey Carrol, Jason Bartlett…these are all players on teams that are not contending, and could be added at minimal cost while performing significantly better than Desmond.

        Relief pitching, you can find a solid set up guy for a lot less than Rasmus.

        Pretty simple stuff.

      • spudchukar - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:14 PM

        Hey PL, I am a little confused. Weren’t you recently commenting about how you were fed up with Rasmus? Sure his play the past couple of days remind everyone just how much talent is there, lest we forget the other 100 games this season? We are loaded with outfield talent, so replacing Rasmus is not that great of a concern.

        I happen to believe that Desmond has an upside that is worth the chance. Yes, his OBP is poor, but it is pretty much the same as Theriot (er Erriot, hadn’t heard that one and it made me laugh), and you must admit he is a significant upgrade defensively. But his speed at the top of the line-up is what intrigues me. If we can pry away Clippard and Detwiler too I say it is worth it.

        For argument sake, assuming we are concentrating on this year, what package do you see out there that would improve on this one? I for one favor this over the White Sox option.

      • paperlions - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:25 PM

        Yes, Rasmus has worn me down….but that doesn’t mean you give him away for crap (Desmond) or fungible assets (which describes most relievers). If they are going to deal him, either get someone else’s high ceiling headache or make a real improvement somewhere on the roster.

        Mostly, I think I’m tired of the narrative and not Rasmus per se. I am not sure who is to blame exactly for that narrative, but it isn’t Rasmus that is a source for local columnists. I have been tired of LaRussa for years, but wishing him away hasn’t worked….he just can’t stay out of the way.

      • spudchukar - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:32 PM

        Hey Matt, watching a player everyday for a season is still vastly superior than quoting UZR stats. True errors are not always an indication of defensive ability, and Colby Rasmus is living proof. We seem to have a disconnect on the Jon Jay issue. He is the starting CF for St. Louis right now, and Rasmus is watching, and hopefully learning why, while he is riding the pine.

        I do not watch Ian Desmond everyday, but I have seen about 10 Nats games this year, lately cause I know they need a left-handed centerfielder. In my humble opinion Desmond is underrated defensively. Sure he makes unnecessary errors, but he also makes some awesome plays. But it is hypocritical to suggest that Rasmus will improve, and Desmond will not.

        This I do know. The Nats have talked a lot about moving Espinoza back to his regular position of SS, and they have a 2B who is tearing up the minors in Lombardozzi, but still they refuse to bench Desmond. Maybe like me, they see something that indicate that the stats he has registered in a year and a half are not indicative of his worth.

      • Mark - Jul 26, 2011 at 6:07 PM

        “Hey Matt, watching a player everyday for a season is still vastly superior than quoting UZR stats.”

        First off, it’s Mark.

        And watching a player is not vastly superior, because you have no basis of comparison. He may look good, but unless you watch virtually every other SS for instance on a daily basis you really have nothing to judge him with. Figures there’s what, 2400 or so baseball games in a season, 3 hours a piece, that’s 7200 hours of baseball. That’s a lot of time to invest in seeing how he compares to everybody else.

        I tend to think UZR is a lot more time efficient.

        “True errors are not always an indication of defensive ability, and Colby Rasmus is living proof. We seem to have a disconnect on the Jon Jay issue. He is the starting CF for St. Louis right now, and Rasmus is watching, and hopefully learning why, while he is riding the pine.”

        The disconnect is because La Russa is an idiot. Rasmus is a better fielder, walks more, and hits for better power. Betancourt is starting for the Brewers, but that doesn’t mean that he’s a starting calibre SS.

        “I do not watch Ian Desmond everyday, but I have seen about 10 Nats games this year, lately cause I know they need a left-handed centerfielder. In my humble opinion Desmond is underrated defensively. Sure he makes unnecessary errors, but he also makes some awesome plays. But it is hypocritical to suggest that Rasmus will improve, and Desmond will not.”

        Not really. Rasmus has shown a better minor league track record, and he’s actually shown that he can hit in the majors. Desmond’s minor league track record shows he’s a below average hitter, and that’s what he’s shown in the majors.

        Hypocritical would be simply stating Rasmus would improve and Desmond won’t, or vice versa. I’ve shown evidence as to why Desmond’s performance won’t improve beyond a 700 OPS, and why Rasmus has the upside to be an 800 OPS player.

        “This I do know. The Nats have talked a lot about moving Espinoza back to his regular position of SS, and they have a 2B who is tearing up the minors in Lombardozzi, but still they refuse to bench Desmond. Maybe like me, they see something that indicate that the stats he has registered in a year and a half are not indicative of his worth.”

        He’s 24 and it’s not like he lit up the minors either. So I’m not sure what kind of talent is hidden away there.

      • spudchukar - Jul 26, 2011 at 7:46 PM

        Ooops, response posted below.

    • 78mu - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:34 PM

      That would be an awesome trade for both teams. The problem is TLR seems to love the current Ryan at SS as much as he hated the previous Ryan at SS. The best thing I can say about Theriot is that he is consistent. He has as much trouble coming in as he does going out and he is as bad at going in the hole as he is to going to his left.

      • spudchukar - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:29 PM

        He is loving him so much, that he has been playing Descalso vs. righties, an infielder who has never played SS in organized baseball?

      • 78mu - Jul 26, 2011 at 5:15 PM

        spudchukar:

        Descalso played Saturday night and made two good plays that Theriot can only dream about. Then Sunday Theriot is back at SS and can’t make a standard play charging a high hopper and then lets a throw go into CF.

        He doesn’t have to be Ozzie but it would be nice if he could make something other than a routine ground ball to short. Play Descalso and use Theriot as a utility player.

      • spudchukar - Jul 26, 2011 at 5:42 PM

        No argument from me, probably allow Theriot to start against lefties, and bring Descalso in as a defensive replacement later. And you assessment of the plays over the weekend are spot on. Allowing that throw to go into centerfield was horrendous, and the play Descalso made to end Saturday’s game was spectacular. Maybe he is the answer, I just fear his inexperience, but he certainly is the best option we currently have.

  2. saucepaws - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    Zack Stewart, Shawn Camp, Adeiny Hecchavarria to STL – Rasmus & B- prospect to TOR.

    • proudlycanadian - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:21 PM

      No friggin way. We do not need a second rate outfielder.

      • saucepaws - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:35 PM

        It’s a bit ridiculous to call him a second rate outfielder. As thefalcon pointed out below, he led ALL CF’s in OPS last year at the young age of 23. How many legit CF’s are there in the whole league, let alone young one’s who could be had in a trade? Upton and Rasmus are it.

        Tell me that you’d honestly rather have Rajai Davis/Corey Patterson than Rasmus? If that’s true, you’re nuts.

      • Mark - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:17 PM

        Unless you think Hech will figure out how to hit at the major league level that’s a pretty fair trade. He’s 22, and doing worse in his second AA stint (218/259/330). Stewart’s really the only solid prospect in the group, and he’s the same age as Rasmus!

        Keep in mind that Rasmus has accomplished more than Snider has to this point, so if Rasmus is a second rate outfielder than what exactly is Travis?

        I’d love for the Jays to do this, but I can’t see why the Cards would.

      • Mark - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:18 PM

        Sorry did I say that’s a pretty fair trade? I meant pretty unfair. D’oh.

  3. trevorb06 - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:25 PM

    Imagine how much complaining Colby and his popi will be doing in Seattle when he can’t even sniff a World Series, let alone a playoff chance. They’ll demand another trade, to which I would hope the Padres answer the call.

  4. Jonny 5 - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    LaRussa: “And I would have had a star OF too if it weren’t for his meddling father.”

  5. thefalcon123 - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    Just as long as any package to the Mariners includes Brenden Ryan in return, I’m in favor it. You know…strictly for comedic purposes.

  6. thefalcon123 - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    Seriously though, how much of a pain in the ass does a young, talented outfielder have to be for a team to be this hell bent on getting rid of him. He lead all center fielders in OPS last year at the age of 23, and despite his well publicized struggles this year he still has a 113 OPS+. He’s also cut down considerably on his strikeouts.

    I have a feeling the Cardinals are going to make a huge mistake and trade another player based on LaRussa’s personal animosities, not to help the team win. LaRussa’s greatest value was always pushing GMs to say to hell with rebuilding or being satisfied with 2nd and getting the players to win now. Now, he seems to be using that power to rid the clubhouse of players he doesn’t like.

    • The Rabbit - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:58 PM

      Agree completely.
      If you watched TLR manage Ludwick a few years ago, it was a wonder that Ludwick did as well as he did. IMHO, LaRussa ruined him.
      It seems to me that if you’re young and have serious major league talent, you aren’t going to get better in a platoon situation or the bench. The best thing for Rasmus (but not necessarily in the long run for the Cardinals) is for him to get out of St. Louis and put his old man up for adoption.

  7. drmonkeyarmy - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:05 PM

    I don’t see how the aforementioned trade would benefit the Cardinals at all. You want to trade one of the best young CF’s in the game for a terrible short stop and a relief pitcher?

    • seanmk - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:11 PM

      you are talking about a team that is benching rasmus and playing jon jay, saying they will play jon jay because they like him in center and gives them better at bats, and you are expecting them to be rational? This is tony la russa we are talking about here

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:18 PM

        Be that as it may, there has to be a better package available than Desmond/Clippard. Clippard is a really good pitcher, but he is a relief pitcher. Desmond is bad. People mention that he had 41 EBH last season, but they fail to mention that his OPS was just .700. So, career year OPS of .700 is awful. Essentially, you are trading a relief pitcher for an at worst very good young CF. I just don’t see how one makes that deal. I just don’t.

      • spudchukar - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:28 PM

        Please enlighten me, cause I do not know where this better option is coming from. One last point, and it bothers me to say this, but Ryan Theriot, despite being a great guy, and gutsy performer is no longer a major league SS. You do not know how bad he is until you see him on a daily basis. And now that he is slumping he offers nothing. Maybe Descalso can prove he can replace him, but he has never played SS at any level. That seems unnecessarily risky.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:30 PM

        If Desmond/Clippard is the best deal offered right now, then you don’t move Rasmus.

      • spudchukar - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:02 PM

        And hand the Phillies the NL crown. How convenient.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:18 PM

        Yeah, because I was thinking about how this deal would benefit the Phillies. As a Phillies fan I would be much more worried about Rasmus than I would Desmond/Clippard. That’s for damn sure.

      • spudchukar - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:42 PM

        How exactly is Rasmus going to hurt you when he cannot break into the Cards starting line-up?

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 26, 2011 at 5:59 PM

        Doesn’t matter. I’d be more worried about the one pinch hit a bat than I would about an entire game of Desmond.

      • spudchukar - Jul 26, 2011 at 7:04 PM

        There is that famous Phillie arrogance raising its ugly head, as if there were any guarantees, we would ever be behind, and need to pinch hit.

  8. seanmk - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    saw someone on twitter mention martin perez as a starting point for rasmus because the cardinals were trying to draft him/sign him. interesting starting point

  9. Old Gator - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:33 PM

    If they really want to rid themselves of Rasmus and Son, the best way to do it is to leave them both in a cardboard box on the corner with “take one” writ large in magic marker on all four sides. Somebody is bound to have a youngster who’d love a baseball player to play with, and Dad can go to a no-kill shelter.

    If he’s lucky, I mean.

  10. spudchukar - Jul 26, 2011 at 7:45 PM

    First off I apologize for the inaccurate screen name. My bad. Sorry. As for UZR as a tool for evaluating players, stick with it if you choose, but I have found that it is wrong as often as it is correct, and having observed this game for 54 years, I believe my aggregate comparative skills exceed UZR. One thing I will bet the farm on though is that Jon Jay is by far the better choice defensively in CF for the Red Birds. Currently Jay sports a 128 OPS, to Rasmus’ 113. So who is the idiot?

    The minor league claims are faulty. In Desmond’s final year in the minors in 2008 he posted an .878 OPS with 21 steals. Rasmus’s best came in 2007 at .831 with 18 thefts. Both had okay years last year, and are struggling in 2011. The Cards need a SS and a dominant reliever, the Nats a slugging lefty centerfielder. Still do not see the disparity that others do, and if they could also snag a lefty reliever to boot, I say make the deal.

  11. helenvance123 - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:17 AM

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