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Blue Jays avoid arbitration with Colby Rasmus at $2.7M

Jan 15, 2012, 3:52 PM EDT

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Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com is reporting that the Blue Jays have inked Colby Rasmus to a $2.7 million contract for 2012, thus avoiding salary arbitration with the 25-year-old center fielder.

Rasmus made a poor first impression with Toronto last year, batting just .173/.201/.316 in 140 plate appearances after being acquired from the Cardinals at the July trade deadline. But he’s still regarded as an immensely talented young player and would seem capable of shifting his career back on track.

The former first-round pick made a big splash in 2010, when, as a 23-year-old, he registered a sparkling .859 OPS with 23 home runs and 12 stolen bases in 144 games for St. Louis. His development took a sudden detour in 2011 and his clashes with the Cardinals’ coaching staff eventually resulted in an eight-player swap.

Rasmus will be eligible for arbitration twice more before getting a crack at the free agent market.

  1. cur68 - Jan 15, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    Well…that’s…nice…I guess. I sure hope Rasmus shows some grit. Some scrap. If he plans to get by on his talent, and he doesn’t deliver there’s nothing about that contract that will prevent him from being shipped far, far away.

    • paperlions - Jan 15, 2012 at 4:35 PM

      The guy is talented….but there isn’t much evident of scrap or grit. Too often, he plays tentatively…like he’s scared or thinking too much (honestly, thinking doesn’t seem to be a strong suit of his). If he just went out and played without thinking at all and let his talent show, he’d be great…..you can tell as soon as he starts to think too much, instead of playing instinctively….it is crystal clear in the way he plays the field and in his approach at the plate. Frustrating guy to root for.

      • cur68 - Jan 15, 2012 at 4:51 PM

        Needs David Eckstein as a life coach. He’d make a great scrapabilitybuddy.

      • proudlycanadian - Jan 15, 2012 at 5:47 PM

        If Rasmus falters, his replacement is already in the Jays system. The Jays had a CF in Double A last year who is very promising. Anthony Gose is very much a work in progress. In single A, he had been a very fast slap hitter; however, last year the Jays took away his speed as a weapon at the plate. He was ordered not to bunt and to try to hit with power. He was even told to try to hit with power with 2 strikes. Consequently, his average was only .253 and he struck out a lot but he did hit 16 home runs. He also stole 70 bases last season. He will be promoted to triple A this year and will be allowed to slap hit with 2 strikes. Gose needs seasoning, but is potentially a superb lead off hitter.

  2. fearlessleader - Jan 15, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    Colby Rasmus: a five-tool player from a two-tool family.

    • crisisjunky - Jan 15, 2012 at 4:55 PM

      Too true, if the Jay’s think they’re avoiding arbitration with Raspmas & Son, they’re gonna find out they just signed on for a whole year of it! All of it, public.
      And they get all that for under 3mil.

    • saints97 - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:27 AM

      Pretty much the funniest thing I’ve heard in a while, fearlessleader. Kudos.

      • fearlessleader - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:18 PM

        :)

  3. dirtyharry1971 - Jan 15, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    2.7MIL for a .173 hitter? Does the bluegay GM even have a clue as to what he is doing? Clearly he doesnt, isnt it time to sent the jays to the same place where the expos are right now? i mean really, i think its time

  4. deathmonkey41 - Jan 15, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Man, I wish my job paid me big money based on potential rather than real work.

  5. lameasish - Jan 15, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    I have never read a post by dirtyharry that was not dumb and uninformed. Look at the moves the jays GM has made. You are joke.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 15, 2012 at 9:47 PM

      Don’t even need to concern yourself with the moves AA has made, using homophobic slurs is bad enough (not to mention judging people by BA).

    • dirtyharry1971 - Jan 15, 2012 at 9:54 PM

      thats my whole point moron, look at the moves he’s made. pathetic, they must love 4th place cause thats were they are headed once again, hell i think the O’s will be better maybe its 5th place!

      • Charles Gates - Jan 15, 2012 at 11:36 PM

        Alex Anthapasnuffleupagus traded away Vernon Wells and his contract. VERNON WELLS. I’ll save the insults and just understand that you’re misinformed/ignorant.

  6. Mark - Jan 15, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    It’s just amazing to me to hear all these complaints about Rasmus after watching him struggle in a down year. It’s the same nonsense I had to suffer through last year when everybody said before the 2011 season started that Escobar had no heart, or that he didn’t care, or whatever the complaint was. And look how that turned out – Escobar rebounded because players coming off shitty years tend to do that, and everybody completely realized all the nonsense surrounding him was bullshit. And now he’s one of the most important players on the Jays squad.

    And I can’t wait till 2012 starts, when history repeats itself with Rasmus. This kid is one year removed from being the best offensive CF in the game, and as the comments have shown here everybody has basically written him off or called him out. Yes, he was awful with the Jays last season. But I’d be shocked if he didn’t put up at least a 775 OPS this season. Which really isn’t a stretch, given that he was a 750 OPS guy with the Cards before he was traded and had an 859 OPS the previous year.

    Pretty disappointed by a lot of the comments here, to be honest.

    • okwhitefalcon - Jan 15, 2012 at 5:20 PM

      I’d like to see the guy succeed in Toronto although I just don’t think it’s going to happen there, the statements towards the end of the year from him were just so damning – he just didn’t seem to care which is very unfortunate.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see him end up with Jeff Luhnow in Houston at some point.

      • paperlions - Jan 15, 2012 at 5:28 PM

        Totally agree. I was 100% against trading him…but the crap he said after he went to Toronto made it sound like he didn’t particularly like baseball and didn’t really care….maybe he was just mentally worn down, and some down time with help.

      • Mark - Jan 15, 2012 at 5:49 PM

        I would be very surprised to see him with Jeff Luhnow in Houston.

      • stex52 - Jan 15, 2012 at 10:37 PM

        I have to agree that I would be very surprised to see Rasmus in Houston. Whatever Luhnow might have thought of him in the past, that is an unlikely course for the Astros to take. And they have nothing to trade, anyway.

    • cur68 - Jan 15, 2012 at 5:24 PM

      Mark, no one will more happy than I if Rasmus does what you say. That’s all I want, really. Trouble is that a lot of astute people have concerns about this kid’s work ethic, his old man’s involvement, and his ability to respond to adversity. I want him to prove us all wrong and justify that faith you have in him. Your comparison to Escobar is well made: I hope you’re right.

    • paperlions - Jan 15, 2012 at 5:25 PM

      I’ve been rooting for the kid since the year he was drafted….mentally, he just loses it and goes into a tail spin….that isn’t based on one year…it happened at least once at some point each year he was up with the big club. I hope he gets it together, if he can develop a better relationship with his manager in Toronto, maybe he will get it together and keep it together…..but at this point, based on years of watching him play and interact with his team mates (none of which seemed to like him at all, for some reason) and coaches….I have major questions about his mental make up….not his baseball skills.

      • 78mu - Jan 15, 2012 at 8:47 PM

        Sometimes when he’s going good that swing and speed makes you drool over what he can do. When he effortlessly glides into third standing up after lacing one into the right field corner you think he’s going to be the starting CF for the next 10 All-Star games.

        But when he goes into a funk and starts playing tentatively in CF you can’t help but yell at the tv as he makes another out. But he’s still only 24 and I have to believe that if he works hard he can still be a great player. I hope he realizes his full potential.

    • fearlessleader - Jan 15, 2012 at 5:29 PM

      Hi Mark—as a Cardinals fanatic, I’ve followed Rasmus pretty closely for a while now, and I feel certain that your disappointment at these comments doesn’t come close to matching our disappointment in this very talented kid.

      Nobody’s ever questioned his ability; it was his attitude, ultimately, that caused St. Louis to show him the door. His conflicts (and his father’s conflicts) with Tony La Russa got the bulk of the press’s attention, but his teammates, too, often found him uncooperative, sullen, oversensitive, and resistant to their efforts to help him improve.

      I certainly never hated the kid, and I hoped that the change of scenery would be just what he needed to clear his slate and jump-start his promising career, since he obviously wasn’t going to realize his potential as a Cardinal. But I can’t say I was surprised to see the numbers he put up after the trading deadline, or to read the dreadful interview he gave to the Toronto paper, in which he basically reiterated the same shaky work ethic and lack of self-awareness that led to his downfall in St. Louis.

      You may be right: He may be the next great center fielder, and I’ll cheer for him if so. But you’ll forgive me, I hope, if I don’t share your optimism just yet.

      • fearlessleader - Jan 15, 2012 at 5:31 PM

        Everyone else typed faster than I did. Distracted by football. Stupid football.

      • Mark - Jan 15, 2012 at 5:48 PM

        Thanks for the response and I’ll try to respond in kind.

        A lot of what you’re saying, it’s the same things that were said about Yunel Escobar. He was lazy, he had attitude problems, his teammates didn’t like him, Chipper Jones stood and clapped when Gonzalez replaced him. Etc, etc. A lot of that stuff, it just gets said when a player performs poorly. Maybe there’s some truth to it, but I don’t buy into that crap in general. When a player does well you never hear anything about that, but when a guy struggles it’s all people can talk about.

        Tony La Russa is really no stranger to conflict. I’m sure as a Cardinal fan you know his lack of support towards younger players, and the fact that stars and non-stars alike clashed with him. So I don’t put a ton of stock into that, given that I’m sure he’s not that innocent in this either.

        Rasmus did have a wrist injury during his time in Toronto that I’m not sure you’re aware of, but he was breaking out (800~ OPS) before said injury. In a recent interview the Jays GM basically admitted to bringing him back early, and without any minor league games to play in he was kind of lost. The K:BB in general surprised me, but given the small sample size and the injury I’m pretty much writing off the two months. I’d need to see a full year to evaluate it.

        I don’t expect him to be a superstar CF, but I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect him to be anything close to what he was this season. A 750-800 OPS with solid D is what I expect, and I think a lot of people are going to be surprised.

        I mean it’s not even like he was bad during his time with the Cards – he had a 110 OPS+ and RC+. I’m willing to bet on the 386 PA he had with the Cards this year over the 140 or so he had with the Jays. I didn’t see his D in STL, but if he was even an average defender over that time (contrary to what UZR says) he would have been a 2.2 WAR CF in 386 AB’s. Prorated to 550 AB’s that’s 3.1 WAR, and I think that’s a pretty decent expectation for his production.

      • paperlions - Jan 15, 2012 at 6:06 PM

        Mark, with his skills and plate approach, he should be able to put up 850 OPS on a regular basis, when he is just playing (and not thinking), he has good command of the strike zone and hits the ball hard.

        In the field, his fundamentals are often lacking….he doesn’t set up to make throws (often catching the ball flat footed, and looking to see if the runner is going before making a belated throw), and he never ever ever ever calls for balls….this led to many near collisions and dropped balls….looks of frustration and anger on fellow OFers faces after such incidents were common….as the CF, you gotta take charge, and he doesn’t.

        He’s a quiet kid, which may be why he finds it hard to bond with his team mates….they seemed to find him as frustrating to play with as it was to root for him.

      • fearlessleader - Jan 15, 2012 at 6:31 PM

        Mark—yep, we’re aware of all that.

        Paperlions covered most of what I’d have said, so I’ll leave it at this: I hope Colby DOES turn into a great player in Toronto, and if he does, I won’t lose any sleep over the what-could-have-beens—partly because I feel confident that he never would have been that player in St. Louis, and partly because the trade that sent him to Canada played an enormous part in bringing us a World Series ring. Perhaps this will turn out to be one of those deals we can all remember fondly.

      • okwhitefalcon - Jan 15, 2012 at 6:50 PM

        Mark – I appreciate your optimism and the data you’ve provided to support your viewpoint.
        As Cards fans we did the same thing with Colby, alot of us watched him closely through the system and had high hopes for long term success – we were vested in him.

        Analytics aside, he’s a guy that needs to be seen everyday to understand how thoroughly frustrating he can be. His lack of baseball smarts, want to and ability to adapt
        virtually override his natural ability. He plays with no sense of urgency and is prone to miss time whether through injury or prolonged slump.

  7. cyanocittacristata - Jan 15, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    Hey it’s all good! Just think about it from this perspective. We could still have a CF that makes 21M next year that had an OPS of .660, sorry Vernon. Colby makes 2.7M and spit out a feeble .688 OPS, I say no worries.

    Anthopolous pontificated on the the Fan590 that young Rasmus was .740 OPS before he mangled his wrist. If he produces at that clip in ’12, then I expect all the “player is s#@t” garbage to go away like it did with Mr. Escobar.

  8. deathmonkey41 - Jan 15, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    He’s like the MLB version of Eric Lindross. Talented, doesn’t really play hard or up to expectations, and has Daddy issues.

  9. randygnyc - Jan 15, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    Some players are just afraid to fail. IMO, Colby is such a player.

  10. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Jan 15, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    There really isn’t any mystery to Rasmus. He is simply afraid of hard work. It doesn’t take skill to get a great jump on the ball, just practice. He has a very good arm, but he never throws anybody out, why? Because even with a great arm, you have to work at it. Everybody get into a slump at the plate, but the good hitter works at it and adjusts. Rasmus just scratches his head and keeps swinging. In the outfield it is too much trouble for him to back up his fellow outfielders.

  11. westcoastredbird - Jan 15, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    Rasmus went from being a potential five tool player to being a five stool player in one year. I personally thank him for tanking and allowing the Cards to make the deal that sent us the World Series. Without his lack of effort and his dad refining his hitting stroke we would have never made it to post season.. Thanks again Colby! Mario Mendoza would be proud.

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