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That’s the best the Cardinals could do?

Jul 27, 2011, 1:52 PM EDT

Colby Rasmus Getty Images

Blue Jays acquire OF Colby Rasmus, LHP Trever Miller, RHP P.J. Walters and LHP Brian Tallet from the Cardinals for RHP Edwin Jackson, LHP Marc Rzepczynski, RHP Octavio Dotel and OF Corey Patterson.

I mean, I’m a little down on Colby Rasmus, too.  It’s probably not a good thing that he listens to his dad either as much or more than he listens to his big-league coaches.  His defense hasn’t been nearly as good this year as it was when he entered the league in 2009.  And after a sneaky-exceptional offensive season as a sophomore in 2010, Rasmus has taken an obvious step backwards in 2011.

But this is a great deal for the Blue Jays.  It’s a lot like last year’s Alex Gonzalez-for-Yunel Escobar swap, though this one has even more upside.

Rasmus is just 24.  He’s hit .259/.334/.444 in his three seasons, giving him 111 OPS+.  The only guys 25 or younger with better OPS+ the last three years are Evan Longoria, Carlos Gonzalez, Billy Butler, Justin Upton, Andrew McCutchen, Pablo Sandoval, Jay Bruce and Asdrubal Cabrera.  He’s a long-term answer in center field for the Blue Jays, and the biggest thing Toronto gave up to get him was Marc Rzepczynski.

I just can’t believe that the Cardinals, even if they felt that they had to move him, couldn’t get more for Rasmus.  A legitimate No. 2 starter or an All-Star-caliber middle infielder.  They gave up a terrific long-term property without getting a real difference-maker in return.  There’s the chance that Jackson will step it up under Dave Duncan’s tutelage, but he was working under a great pitching coach in Chicago and was just as maddening as usual.  I do like Rzep, both as a reliever now and maybe as a starter next year.  He’s under control through 2015, and he should be a nice asset for years.

But that’s not enough of a haul for Rasmus.  If they wanted Dotel, he would have been easy enough to pick up in a separate deal.  Corey Patterson?  Really?  They couldn’t even get the Jays to part with Rajai Davis instead?  Davis is certainly expendable enough with Rasmus’ arrival, and his right-handed bat makes far more sense for the Cardinals.  Jon Jay, who will replace Rasmus as the team’s primary center fielder, is a left-handed hitter, just like Patterson.

As for the rest of the players the Jays got, it was really just the dregs of the Cardinals’ roster.  Miller, who reportedly will be moved on to the White Sox as part of the original Edwin Jackson deal, has been useless as a lefty specialist lately.  Walters probably would have been bumped from the 40-man to make room for one of the four newcomers.  Tallet had an 8.31 ERA in 13 innings before going on the disabled list.  Absorbing the remainder of his $750,000 contract was part of the cost of doing business.

The Jays made out like bandits here, even after factoring in the hidden costs.  They were forced to take on $7.5 million unwanted dollars by absorbing the Mark Teahen and Tallet contracts.  They gave up the possibility of two supplemental first-round picks by moving Jason Frasor and Dotel.  And Rzepczynski is an underrated property with his fine 2.97 ERA in 39 1/3 innings out of the pen this year.   But to get a player like Rasmus, it really wasn’t much of a price to pay.

Update: For what it’s worth, the deal is now official and the Blue Jays are also surrendering three players to be named or cash considerations.  Hopefully there will be at least one interesting player in there for St. Louis.

  1. hittfamily - Jul 27, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    Remember just a few weeks ago, when they wanted Jeremy Hellciskon, as in the 3.20 ERA ROY candidate Jeremy Hellickson. HAAAAAAAAAAA HAAAAAAAAAAA HAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

    Instead they settle for Oil Can Jackson.

  2. natstowngreg - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    Rasmus and a bunch of guys for Jackson, Rzepczynski, and a bunch of guys. I agree completely with your assessment.

  3. 18thstreet - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    So, the Orioles are never going to the playoffs ever again.

    • JBerardi - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:11 PM

      C’mon, they have Buck Showalter…

      • paperlions - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:22 PM

        I thought the same thing. Aren’t Buck and Davey (Nats are 6 games under .500 since he took over) supposed to be willing their teams to victory through their managerial awesomeness?

        I mean….it can’t be as simple as having crappy players dooms you to lose, could it?

      • hittfamily - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:50 PM

        Lou Pinella found work for 20 years based on what he did in 1990. Showalter at least leaves his clubs in better positions than when he found them.

      • paperlions - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:52 PM

        You mean that Showalter’s GMs improve the quality of the roster while he is there and decide that they can’t win with him as the Manager so they fire him?

      • hittfamily - Jul 27, 2011 at 3:02 PM

        No. I mean he gives quality assessment of the players on the roster and turns mediocre starters like Mo Rivera into great relievers.

      • paperlions - Jul 27, 2011 at 3:05 PM

        Well, then you are wrong.

    • southpaw2k - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:49 PM

      I think a better assessment would be the Orioles will never reach .500 again.

  4. chadh88 - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    I don’t see Rasmus being long for Toronto either. He will want out of there as soon as possible whether he plays bad and causes trouble or plays great and wants paid. Hope enjoys watching the Cardinals in the playoffs while he he has to fight the Orioles for 4th place.

    • trevorb06 - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:17 PM

      I agree. Rasmus will give them just as much of a headache. Rasmus (or his daddy) wants to be top dog of a team and treated as such but he needs to earn that first. I give this thru June of next year before he wants a trade.

      • JBerardi - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:21 PM

        It’s also possible that TLR is just a dick.

      • umrguy42 - Jul 27, 2011 at 4:44 PM

        JBerardi, your opinion and chad/trevor’s are not mutually exclusive. I think it’s likely both are true :)

  5. proudlycanadian - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    That may have been the best they could do after the public feud with the Rasmus family. I hope that Rasmus performs with the Jays. It is not a given that he will listen to Toronto’s coaches.

    • proudlycanadian - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:11 PM

      As far as the extra salary being taken on by the Jays, it is a side benefit of the Wells trade that they can afford to take on the extra expense.

    • JBerardi - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:17 PM

      That’s the thing though, he was performing with the Cardinals. Even if it wasn’t necessarily up to expectations, an average to above average CF with a .753 OPS is a productive player. That’s a starter on a playoff team. And he’s still young and cheap enough for Toronto to check “center fielder” off their shopping list for the foreseeable future. And, at just 24 and with a world of talent at his disposal, don’t be surprised if he blooms into a superstar for the Jays.

      • Ari Collins - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:35 PM

        He’s a below-average CF. But still a good player for the next three years, with some upside.

      • spudchukar - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:54 PM

        Jon Jay had replaced Colby Rasmus as the Cards center fielder, before this trade. Arguments as to whether or not the Red Birds got enough for him are certainly valid, but with Berkman indicating he wants to return to St. Louis, Holliday a lock for many years in left and Jay in center, where was Rasmus to play, especially if the St. Louis management believes Pujols will sign a long term deal, relegating Berkman to right field. Plus, Allen Craig is returning from the DL in about a week, and provides the offense that Rasmus couldn’t.

      • paperlions - Jul 27, 2011 at 3:13 PM

        Making one bad decision doesn’t justify another bad decision.

        LaRussa hated Boog, so they traded for Erriot, making Boog expendable. That was two bad decisions.

        LaRussa hated Rasmus, benched him for Jay (which would be a mistake if it represented a long-term commitment), making Rasmus expendable, so they traded him for a bunch of nothing-special that doesn’t improve the current roster and makes it worse down the road.

        For the record, last year Jay had an OPS > .661 in only one month (July), he sucked the rest of the year; this year Jay has had an OPS > .658 for two of the months (May and July). In other words, he has sucked balls for all but three months. Obviously, those good/great months also count, but let’s not act like he is anything approaching consistent and playing full-time he’ll have to make adjustments. I hope he becomes great, I’m just not optimistic. I would be surprised if he had an OPS > .800 for any season of his career.

      • spudchukar - Jul 27, 2011 at 5:30 PM

        It is the managers primary job to put on the field the team he feels has the best chance to win. Early in the year, Theriot’s offensive production overshadowed his defensive deficiencies, which turned out to be worse than most thought. Now that he is slumping, justifiably Descalso has replaced him, especially vs. righties. The same can be said for Rasmus, early on his plate discipline allowed him to post a very good OBP, but when that eroded and he imploded defensively, Jay got a few starts. He performed admirably, in all phases of the game. One can argue that it will not last, but this is two consecutive years in which he put up better numbers then Rasmus, and defensively there is no comparison. I know lately, the first thing I do before a Red Bird game is check the line-up hoping to see Jay’s name slated in the center field position. When I do I am assured we have a better chance of winning, and like the manager, that is really all I care about.

  6. spudchukar - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    At first blush, this deal sure looks lopsided, however, no one knows if Rasmus’ play this year created a situation where “damaged goods” was the reputation that could garner little else.

    • JBerardi - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:18 PM

      So they could just hang onto him. The Cardinals held the gun to their own head on this one.

      • paperlions - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:24 PM

        Exactly. If you can’t get good value (or at least something that improves your chances of winning this year), then you don’t sell.

      • spudchukar - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:33 PM

        Sure you can look at it that way, but if you are all in this year, with the futures of Pujols, Carpenter, and Berkman in doubt, and Wainwright returning to the rotation next year then the move takes on a different look. Jay has supplanted Rasmus in centerfield, and the Cards have outfielders to burn in their organization. If Jackson fails to deliver, Wainwright steps in next year. They desperately need left handed bullpen help, which Rzepczynski will be called on to provide. Hard to see how Dotel or Patterson can be difference makers. Not what I had hoped for, but if the Cards capture the NL Central crown, attitudes may change.

      • paperlions - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:48 PM

        You have to be smart about going all in, you don’t go all in with 8, J off-suit and justify the bad play by saying, “well, I was going all in”. If you don’t have the cards, you wait for the next hand. This team is not one that is one good player from being a true contender, and they didn’t even get that player in return for Rasmus. Their roster isn’t any better now than yesterday, and it will be worse next year than if they didn’t make the deal.

        I fear you are correct in your analogy though, and I don’t think the Cards will be at the table after this hand.

      • spudchukar - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:58 PM

        As I have indicated, I sure thought they could do better, however I question the notion that Rasmus is a guaranteed star on the horizon. It is just as legitimate to believe the Cards have come to the decision that Jay is their future centerfielder, and Rasmus was expendable.

  7. bleedgreen - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:15 PM

    When the manager goes on the radio and blasts a player, how can you expect anyone to offer anything of value? Its clear they wanted him gone, so they got lowballed and took the lowball offer.

  8. sdelmonte - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:15 PM

    No matter what the Mets get for Beltran, it looks good already compared to the St. Louis end of this.

  9. paperlions - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    This trade feels like losing 17 games all in one day, not sure if that is better or worse than the current Seattle streak.

  10. hk62 - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    Know what I don’t get – how a player is suddenly not a head case (tools of Rasmus with results of Rasmus) because he’s changing teams? .259/.334/.444 on the Cardinals – and because he’s 24 and OPS+ says something everything keeping him from being a star will be gone? that’s a reach – TOR can hope so though.

    • Kevin S. - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:37 PM

      Maybe because he has a manager with a long history of being adversarial towards players he dislikes?

      • paperlions - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:49 PM


      • unlost1 - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:55 PM

        Ozzie Smith
        Jim edmonds
        Scott Rolen
        Ryan Ludwick
        Colby rasmus
        J.D. Drew
        Anthony Reyes
        Brendan Ryan

        Need I say more?

    • canadaman54 - Jul 27, 2011 at 3:02 PM

      Not only does La Russa have a poor history with “headache” players, but look at Yunel Escobar this year with Toronto. You don’t read or hear anything about him being unhappy or causing trouble and he is currently one of the most productive shortstops in the league. Cox and La Russa have never been known as every player’s best friend. And maybe it’s good for these players to be in a city where baseball isn’t the primary concern and thus avoid the heavy scrutiny they would otherwise face in cities like St. Louis, Chicago or New York.

      Build that dynasty, Toronto. Lawrie’s next.

      • hittfamily - Jul 27, 2011 at 3:54 PM

        I don’t know how Cox gets thrown into this conversation. JD showed up and his his best year, before or since.

      • 5thbase - Jul 27, 2011 at 5:10 PM

        Yunel is basically the only player Cox didn’t get along with over all those years in Atlanta. Yunel was a lazy punk and his teammates hated him by the end and they were ecstatic when he was traded. Good for him if he finally learned his lesson when he got traded for a below average SS … too bad he didn’t learn that same lesson in one of the first eight thousand opportunities he had.

        I’m not even a big fan of Bobby Cox, but to pretend like he didn’t get along with players is just stupid.

  11. danandcasey - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    I hear the Cards are getting Kolb from the Eagles – or am I mixing up my sports again. I hate that football started up right at the baseball trade deadline.

  12. b7p19 - Jul 27, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    If all they wanted was a back end of the rotation guy and a bunch of releivers, they should have called the Padres. They probably could have gotten Harang/Bell or some other combination that could have helped down the stretch.

  13. spudchukar - Jul 27, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    Ken Rosenthal just said on the MLB network that 3 other players are involved in this deal, minor leaguers, and that they are part of the Cards acquisition.

    • spudchukar - Jul 27, 2011 at 3:08 PM

      MLB reports that the deal includes 3 other players to be named later to St. Louis or cash considerations.

      • paperlions - Jul 27, 2011 at 3:15 PM

        Please be players, someone with….you know…talent, that won’t reach the majors until TLR is retired.

  14. franklapidus316 - Jul 27, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    Yes it sounds like the great trade for Jays, but you forget to mention they had to give up Zack Stewart to first get Jackson., so from their standpoint its more or less a good pitching prospect plus two trade chips that were sure to get overvalued by someone (Frasor and Dotel) for Rasmus. Plus they eat money, plus they give up the Frasor/Dotel maybe picks.

  15. okwhitefalcon - Jul 27, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    Did he have to go? Absolutely.

    Would I have liked to see more in return? Sure.

    The kid has wanted out for over a year, the manager has wanted him gone at least that long.

    TLR haters will be all over this, and maybe rightfully so to a degree. But the player has to be held accountable as well, he never made the proper adjustments to adapt to TLR’s intense style.

    Bottom line: you fit in or you don’t and it’s been brutaly obvious this was never a good fit for either party.

    Time to move on.

    • paperlions - Jul 27, 2011 at 3:54 PM

      Agreed, time to move on….as in, they should have dumped LaRussa years ago. Managers just don’t win games, players do. LaRussa is replaceable, talent like that of Rasmus….not so much.

      • okwhitefalcon - Jul 27, 2011 at 4:22 PM

        I understand you despise TLR, hell – alot of Cards fans do.

        I’m neither a despiser nor a blind follower but realize many more players have thrived than stalled under his reign as Cards skipper.

        He’s mishandled a few, no doubt about it.

        He also won a World Series title with the likesof So Taguchi, Preston Wilson, Scott Spezio
        and a nondescript bullpen with a inexperienced closer as well.

      • paperlions - Jul 27, 2011 at 5:05 PM

        He was the manager of a team that won….let’s not phrase things to give undeserved credit. That Cardinal team was mediocre, got hot at the right time, and the Tiger’s pitchers committed about 70 gagillion errors in the 5 games.

        Let’s also not forget that the Cardinals won zero WS while having a lineup that included the MV3 (Edmonds, Pujols, Rolen) for several seasons. Players win games, not managers….the biggest effect managers can have is a negative one, by failing to play the best players…..TLR magnifies this problem by making everything personal and being petty.

        He has been hounding Rasmus since he was a 21 yr old in his first MLB camp….what part of a 70 yr old man bad mouthing a kid in the press represents good managing or leadership? LaRussa has been doing it for years.

      • okwhitefalcon - Jul 27, 2011 at 5:33 PM

        We get it – you hate TLR with heat of 1000 suns, he can do nothing to please you no matter what.

        I understand he infuriates to the nth degree but he IS the unabashed leader and will remain so until he’s no longer wanted by the powers that be.

        The day an organization lets an exasperating yet talented player (and meddling father) undermine a clubhouse – an entire organization for that matter is the day that player must go – no matter how high the ceiling and no matter who’s making out the lineup.

        It’s unfortunate the situation got to critical mass, but it did – and I bet a majority of the players/coaches are whistling dixie now the cloud has been lifted.

        Jeff Luhnow on the other hand…

  16. cintiphil - Jul 27, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    I like to see the back and forth from all of the Redbird and Blue Jay fans. All I can say is that Patterson is no winner, and didn’t help much in Chicago. Why in St.Louis? Jackson could be a better pitcher than his record, but not a great player. Rasmus has great potential, but just that. He is a trouble maker as is his dad, and they both seem to know more than major league players and coaches. I heard that Rausmu had some sort of run in with Pujols. That would be a major no-no if true. All I can tell you for certain, is that Walt would not want him in Cinti. even with our need for an everyday outfielder. If you think playing for TLR is rough, wait until you run into Dusty on a bad day. Rasmus is JUST potential which he has not lived up to yet. Does the name Jason Bay ring a bell? Rasmus sounds a like like him.

    • paperlions - Jul 27, 2011 at 3:55 PM

      Dude, stop giving yourself a thumbs up.

  17. macjacmccoy - Jul 27, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    Like I said when every team knows that a team has to trade a player the value goes way down. The Cardinals had no choice but to trade him bc if they held out all that was going to happen was the situation was going to get worse and the value would go down even further.

  18. jaysfan64 - Jul 28, 2011 at 9:33 AM

    This is a good old-fashioned baseball trade – both teams got what they wanted…Zep can be a serviceable lefty for years for them either in the pen or in the rotation, Patterson is an okay hitter/pinch runner (just make sure his glove is lost in customs – he almost collided with Bautista on several occasions) and Jackson (if effective) could help put them over the top….we all know Rasmus’ potential (remember when Devon White first came here and the baggage he brought)??? Good trade for both clubs considering the circumstances.

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