The cryptic rumor circulating the Cardinals these days is that Shelby Miller and Zack Cox are considered to be untouchable... But other names that might surprise fans are available on the trade market.
Maybe because of the coincidence that Colby Rasmus’ father is again complaining all over cyberspace that his son needs to play somewhere else, the Redbirds’ centerfielder is the prime suspect to be on the trading block.
Or maybe it’s because getting rid of the talented but lazy and uninterested outfielder just makes sense.
Everyone with a blog and their brother seems ready to shoot down the Rasmus rumor because 1) He’s supposedly too valuable on the field as a “five tool player” and 2) He’s too cheap to part with, making less than half a million bucks as a third year player.
Those aren’t any more reasons that he can’t be traded, however, than they are reasons why he would be valuable. Clubs don’t want to take on untalented, over-expensive players. And the cheaper and more skilled a player is, the more he is likely to fetch in return.
People just love to compare Rasmus to former Cardinals outfielder JD Drew because of their seemingly disinterested playing style. But I would like to compare them in another way: The massive bounty the Cardinals pulled in from trading Drew to his hometown Braves.
If the Cardinals could trade a 24-year-old outfielder who doesn’t seem to care for running and who asked for a day off when the other two starting outfielders were hurt and unavailable and who is prone to prolonged slumps to a club that would give them a future ace like Adam Wainwright, a solid starter like Jason Marquis and an effective lefty like Ray King -- I would do it in a New York minute.
I can’t imagine that Rasmus -- who embarrassed himself against the Brewers over the weekend by failing in consecutive games to back up Jon Jay on balls against the fence -- isn’t driving manager Tony La Russa nuts with his spotty play. It’s like cancer to team chemistry to have one guy who gets away with making a 50 or 75 percent effort on a daily basis while the other players are busting their humps to win.
It seems that the Cardinals players rebelled against the idea of keeping Brendan Ryan on the roster for less serious transgressions.
I don’t care how high a guy’s potential is if he doesn’t care to play his best.
Yeah, yeah... I‘ve heard all the talk that Jon Jay isn’t cut out to be a major league starting outfielder. But people seem to forget that Skip Schumaker is still on the roster -- and he’s a heckuva lot better outfielder than he is a second baseman.
With Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman in the middle of the order, Rasmus is a nice complimentary player to the offense. But he isn’t a core piece. Maybe he’ll be one someday. But he hasn’t shown the sort of consistency or drive to convince me that he’s going to step up.
I don’t know what’s available out there. But if the Cardinals could shore up a rotation and bullpen that are showing cracks by dealing a guy who doesn’t want to be here so much that he’s -- at least twice -- asked to be traded, so be it.