The Blue Jays announced today that they've avoided arbitration with former Cardinals outfielder Colby Rasmus for $4.675 million...
And I once again thanked the Redbirds' lucky stars that they were able to get rid of Rasmus before he started to get expensive.
Rasmus, who blamed his poor play in St. Louis on mean old Tony La Russa, managed to hit .223 last year with Toronto. He did hit 23 home runs with 75 RBIs. But he struck out a whopping 149 times in 565 at bats and grayed the hair of Blue Jays coaches in the process. They tried everything to try to get Rasmus started, batting him everywhere in the order except first or the clean-up spot.
(The only spots in which he hit better than .200 were second (.235) and 8th (.286). His next-highest spot was ninth where he hit .174.)
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Despite his objections, Rasmus was a .259 hitter with a .334 on base percentage with the Cardinals. Since he "escaped" to Toronto in a trade for Marc Rzepczynski, Octavio Dotel, Corey Patterson and Edwin Jackson that helped St. Louis make it to and eventually win the 2011 World Series, Rasmus is a .213 hitter with a .273 on base percentage north of the border.
I simply cannot believe that a player of Rasmus' ilk is worth that much cash. As I have written a million times before, I don't mind the fact that the marquee attractions like Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder make the big bucks. It's when the guys who no one would ever pay to watch play on an individual basis start making several million bucks a year that is outrageous.
Five years into the majors, Rasmus just doesn't get it. He's publicly stated that he's content to just be one of the mediocre players in the middle of a roster and that he doesn't have the drive or desire to be a star. And now his lack of commitment to the game is starting to show in that opponents have learned his weaknesses while Rasmus refuses to counter them by doing things like learning to hit the ball to the opposite field.
The future won't be kind to Rasmus as his natural talent starts to fade with age. But, unless he makes some big changes, I'm guessing his price is going to outweigh his skills long before he reaches 30 years old and he's going to get released.
The Cardinals probably waited too long to trade Rasmus to get maximum value, landing only a relief pitcher and a trio of short term rentals. But, fortunately, they caught lightning in a bottle and won the World Series. And a general manager can't make a deal better than that. And the fact that we don't have to watch Rasmus jog after fly balls, strike out from his heels and pout in the dugout is the cherry on top.