Two days after the Cardinals traded Colby Rasmus and his dad, scouts, GM’s and other baseball insiders have weighed in, and the landslide opinion is the Cardinals made a long term mistake for short term gain and did not get enough for Rasmus. I say those people are living in fantasy-land and Mozeliak did just fine with this trade. I’d like to hear one trade Mo turned down as the deadline approached that addressed more of the Cardinals needs than this one. It addressed starting pitching, relief pitching, and the Patterson addition avoids the subtracting depth issue.
The criticism of the deal is all based on the “Potential” of Rasmus. Potential. Something we have seen a very brief glimpse of at the major league level and maybe a smaller one in 4 seasons at the minor league level. A lot of them are also ignoring another major factor and that is what’s between Colby’s ears and who seems to have a Darth Vader like control of it. Does he appear to have all the tools to be great? At times, yes. But when has he shown it consistently enough for someone to believe that’s the everyday player he will become. At some point potential takes a back seat to what you know. Here’s a reality check.
Reality Check #1 – Rasmus is a career .258 hitter (1445 plate appearances) in 2 and a half seasons in the majors. He hit .277 (1776 Plate appearances) in the minors. He has struck out 332 times in the bigs, 348 in the minors. 144 walks in the majors, 200 in the minors. His slugging % is .442 with the Cardinals, .485 in the minors. He has not hit over .300 since A-ball. But he has potential right? His defense in flashes has been great, but more consistently average. He has been far more inaccurate with his arm than accurate and it’s tough to play centerfield that way.
Reality Check #2 – Beyond the numbers, there is Daddy Rasmus and Colby’s grey matter. Tony Rasmus has been on message boards and publicly criticizing the Cardinals since Colby was in the minors. And you know Colby has had to hear the same thing from him. That’s not good. Now that Daddy Rasmus has unloaded and held nothing back since the trade, is there any doubt in anyone’s mind that Colby had no chance winning the battle between the two Tony’s? Colby is a 24 year-old kid that apparently can’t think for himself. Even Toronto’s GM has or will reach out to Daddy Rasmus to figure out how to deal with Colby. Are you serious? He’s 24, If he is that sensitive and hard to figure out, does he really have the mental toughness to be a star? Time for Colby to grow up.
Reality Check #3 – Jon Jay has outplayed Rasmus for a shot as the everyday Center Fielder. The biggest difference between the two players is Colby has more power for the long ball, but Jay is hitting .310 with a .440 slugging % and has just 13 RBI fewer than Rasmus in 89 fewer plate appearances than Colby. Jay’s defense has been better than Rasmus’s. (One note off the reality check – Here’s a “what if” no one is tossing around. What if Jay develops into an all-star? There is only a 17-month age difference between the two. Is it still a bad deal?)
Reality Check #4 – Sometimes the marriage between a player and an organization just does not work. It happens. That’s life. Even between good organizations and good players (and Rasmus has just been average, not good). It’s ok and also a smart move to know when to move on. I think the Cardinals were finally at the move on point.
Reality Check #5 – Why are we to assume that only the Cardinals know the whole story. In the sports world, that’s just not the case. Other teams know the numbers. Other teams know about Daddy Rasmus. It’s just other teams often believe they can fix what one or more teams couldn’t. Sometimes it works, a lot of times it doesn’t. Why would another team willing pay top dollar when they know they are helping another team get rid of a problem? That’s foolish on their part.
Reality Check #6 – With the uncertainty of Pujols, Carpenter, Wainwright, Berkman, and more for next season ,the Cardinals needed the more immediate approach rather than long term. They can win this division this year. Once in the playoffs, who know what can happen. This is a no-brainer “Go for it now” time and that sometimes means taking a chance. Cardinal fans deserve that chance when it’s presented and this organization went for it. Good for Mozeliak. He took it and now we see if it pays off.
Oh yeah, back to potential. When six plus years of actual numbers and several years of custodial interference in his career have shown what they show, it’s time for potential to take a back seat. Let someone else find that potential and good for the Cardinals for moving on. I hope it’s a win/win. I hope the players the Cardinals acquired help this team to another World Series. I hope Rasmus shines with Toronto. If he does good for him. If he becomes what so many others think he will, it still does not make this a bad deal. Reality sure was not going to let that happen here.