Why The Cardinals Can’t Trade Colby Rasmus

…even if they want to.

Does anyone recognize this player?

Centerfielder.
Former top prospect, ranked as one of the top 5 in baseball at one time.
Great plate discipline (11% walk rate), but strikes out at a high rate (20+%).
Batting average hovers around .250.
Above-average power, posting around a .160 to .180 ISO.
Called out in the past for “attitude” issues.

Oh, you were thinking of Colby Rasmus? Sorry, I was describing B.J. Upton.

Colby Rasmus is an alluring player. In 2009, he was rated by Baseball America as the third best prospect in all of baseball, sandwiched between current stars David Price (#2) and Tommy Hanson (#4). That’s what happens when you’re a center fielder and you hit 29 homeruns in Double-A; everyone goes bananas about your potential.

But since then, Rasmus has generally failed to live up to expectations. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still been a great player — it’s not every day that a 22-year-old hits 16 homeruns and posts a 2.8 WAR season as a rookie. Rasmus followed that up with a spectacular year last season, hitting 23 homeruns and posting a .366 wOBA, before slumping back down to a .327 wOBA so far in 2011. He’s still an above-average center fielder and is on pace for just under a 3 WAR season, but Rasmus has yet to develop into the All-Star talent so many people expected.

Again, sound familiar?

As Dave Cameron pointed out in the trade value post yesterday, that’s the real problem with Rasmus: potential vs. production. Rasmus now has over 1400 plate appearances in the majors, and his skill set is becoming increasingly clear. He’ll walk around 10% of the time, strike out around 20% of the time, and steal a handful of bases each season. Unless he posts an extraordinarily high BABIP (like last season’s .354 BABIP), his batting average will fall around .250. Power is still his strength, and it’s possible that he could match last season’s 23 homeruns and .222 ISO again, but it’s looking more and more like he’s a 17 homeruns per season guy rather than 25.

Does Rasmus still have potential? Of course. Is he still valuable, even as just a 3.0 WAR centerfielder? For sure. But my point is this: it will be difficult for the Cardinals to get a fair return for him, as there is so much uncertainty about his peak value. The Cardinals are going to want to get a return back for him that factors in Rasmus’s potential, while other teams are going to be hesitant to pay that much for a player that is looking more and more like he may never reach that potential. Unless the Cards are willing to sell low on Rasmus, they’re likely stuck with him.

There are so many different comparisons you can make with Rasmus. Over the last year, he’s posted a .332 wOBA — very, very similar to Hideki Matsui, Coco Crisp, and Johnny Damon. Over his career, his offense has been 9% above average; Brett Gardner has been 7% above average and B.J. Upton has been 8%. He’s still only 24-years-old and could break out at any time, but at the same time, there have been many top prospects that have never reached the ceiling expected of them.

So how much patience do the Cardinals have? How likely do they think it is that Rasmus will reach his ceiling? It’d be a bad idea for them to sell low of Rasmus right now, but it’d also be a poor idea for another team to offer a package for Rasmus based on his potential. As much as Rasmus may frustrate the Cards, odds are they’re stuck with him for now.




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Steve is the editor-in-chief of DRaysBay and the keeper of the FanGraphs Library. You can follow him on Twitter at @steveslow.

101 Responses to “Why The Cardinals Can’t Trade Colby Rasmus”

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  1. Brian says:

    As a Cardinals fan, the thought of them making a deal similar to the Braves swap of Yunel Escobar last season – a young player with demonstrated ability having a poor season for an overrated veteran – is scary.

    +16 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Noxage says:

      The fact that the Jays have a glaring need in CF should scare you even more. The fact that AA has made public comments this year regarding the potential acquisition of players of this exact ilk should have you downright terrified.

      +26 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Omar Little says:

        Oh yeah, I’m sure he’s really scared. haha AA is a god. GTFO of here.
        If the Cardinals are willing to give him up the conversation STARTS with Lawrie.

        -42 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Noxage says:

        His body of work speaks for itself.

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      • Lewis says:

        Lawrie > Rasmus IMO

        +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • EarlSweatshirt says:

        Toronto fans are making me dislike AA, which sucks because the guy is obviously one of the top GMs in the game. The dickriding of a GM is the lowest form of internet dickriding.

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      • Kid That Killed Omar says:

        @Earl

        Right, because a fan base boisterously pimping one of their assets is something new. Get a grip.

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      • Omar Little says:

        Oh yes, quite a body of work. Another 4th place finish lol How impressive. lol

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      • slamcactus says:

        If the conversation starts with Lawrie, the conversation ends. Lawrie is major league ready as soon as he’s healthy. You don’t give up a guy’s full club control for the arbitration years of a similarly talented player.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        We only need to look at SEA as a cautionary example of not getting carried away with optimism following one off-season.

        We also rushed to judge ARZ as the “loser” of to trades … two trades that have paid off well for them.

        AA is going to be able to make a “Wells deal” very often, just as other GMs have found it difficult to continue their “mastery”.

        I don;t blame Jays fans for being excited. How could they not be? But the expectation that AA will always get the better of the deal, or continue to make deals that pan out is unrealistic.

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      • Lewis says:

        @CircleChange

        What did Jack Z do that even remotely compares to the Wells deal or the Bautista extension? Those are probably the 2 best moves in the entirety of baseball over the past 5 years.

        Throw in the Morrow and Escobar heists as well as taking a bottom 5 farm and taking it to a top 3 farm in 2 years and it’s really not a valid comparison.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        I’m talking about the optimism, not necessarily comparing the deals made.

        As I said, AA isn’t going to be able to make repeatable “Wells deals”. That’s the best deal he’ll ever make. Everything from here on out is probably “regression”. See Billy Beane for how it tends to work.

        Epstein is a great example … very good moves and development early on, but only sustained through major payroll increases.

        All I’m really saying is let’s not expect AA to rip off every team from here on out, which is what the initial response implied.

        AA has done an outstanding job.

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      • Statement says:

        @ Omar Little,

        Burn dude, Burn.

        This conversation ENDS with me telling you that you are a tool.

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    • Josh says:

      A young player demonstrating a cancerous attitude, with diva attributes causing a rift with management and players for a strong defensive overrated veteran. You left that part out. Otherwise that deal wouldn’t have made much sense. I hated Escobar from day one. What kind of played kicks dirt and complains about getting a fielding error.

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      • Benjamin says:

        a very solid, 3-5 win shortstop

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      • JT Grace says:

        If the Braves still had Escobar they possibly could be tied with the Phillies right now. The Braves have one of the worst hitting players in major league baseball at shortstop right now (and they are an injury away from fielding a team with Julio Lugo). This was a stupid, stupid trade for the Braves. Escobar should have been one of the building blocks for the team, not traded for scrap heap material.

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      • Brad says:

        As a Cards fan all my life who bleeds red, I can tell you we think the same thing of Rasmus. My family has had dealings with him in Springfield where he played AA ball. He is a rude, spoiled, prima donna. I guess you have that right with a 4 million dollar signing bonus. We love big heart players who give everything they have on the field. Trade that sand bagging turd. He never plays as hard as he can. His potential is really high, too bad he is a head case that will never reach it. We like and respect Jon Jay way more than Colby Rasmus. He is a club house cancer. We would be greatful for Jeremy Hellickson or James Shields from the Rays. MAKE THE DEAL!

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    • chuckb says:

      I agree x 1 million!

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  2. Jay says:

    C’mon Steve, #41 for #39. It’s a fair deal.

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  3. TheGrandslamwich says:

    A contending team shouldn’t bail on a young, talented, 3+ WAR center fielder with who has even more upside than that. I do not believe there is any chance in Rasmus being traded.

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    • cpebbles says:

      They should if they are tied for the division lead, have glaring holes at shortstop, second, and starting pitcher to fill, and have a decent enough approximation of Rasmus taking up space as their fourth outfielder.

      I really don’t think Rasmus realistically has anything more than 3.5 win upside at this point. He’s got around $25 million in surplus value today. If they can trade him for a SP with similar value, stick McClellan back in the pen where he is an asset, and plug Jon Jay’s league-average performance in Rasmus’s place, they pick up some big wins this year and don’t really hurt themselves long-term.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Okay, but Jon Jay in CF is probably 1-2 WAR worse than Rasmus.

        If they trade Rasmus to they get enough “chaining WAR” to make it a net positive?

        What about next year?

        Jon Jay is not a CF, neither is Allen Craig, or Skip Schumaker, or …

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    • Eminor3rd says:

      DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE LA RUSSA EFFECT

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  4. hairball says:

    It may be a minor quibble, but “odds are they’re stuck with him” is a lot different than “can’t trade even if they want to”. After reading the headline and the first line, I was expecting a clause in his contract that disallowed such a possibility. The rest of the article basically just painted a case for not trading him.

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  5. Renegade says:

    For a guy that the Cards will never trade, Tony LaRussa sure does hate him; he crapped over him in the media again last week. I would love for the Jays to acquire Rasmus. Not sure what kind of package it’d take though. Snider and Drabek’s values are pretty low right now, Lawrie is hurt, Thames is an extra piece at best and I don’t think Cecil is a centerpiece in the least. Hmmm

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  6. Scott says:

    THey shoudl trade him, but only if they trade him to the Braves and let the Braves get a steal

    /Braves fan

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  7. CircleChange11 says:

    How likely do they think it is that Rasmus will reach his ceiling?

    How do they/we know he hasn’t?

    .250 BA, 17 HR, -5 UZR may be who he is. As a CF, that’s pretty good.

    At 25, there’s room for some improvement, but how much?

    I’m fine with StL being stuck with Rasmus. The problem for Rasmus is that he’s stuck with TLR.

    Not sure I want to see an above league average, cost-controlled player traded when there’s so much uncertainty with the teams mega stars and their contracts (Wain, Carp, Pujols).

    A league average hitter at CF is pretty good … even if he’s slightly below average in fielding. If someone better defensively comes along, his league average bat (wOBA) and UZR (getting a boost at a corner OF position) would be fine.

    Interestingly enough, JD Drew’s walk % increased, somewhat significantly, after he left StL. I just bring up JDD because he was another young talented OF, that didn;t work hard enough or have the right mindset to appease TLR, and was shipped out (for Wainwright though).

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  8. jdbolick says:

    I guess I’m in the minority for believing that Rasmus doesn’t have much more upside than this. I believe this is an accurate representation of his talent level, and that while some improvement is certainly possible with age and experience, I don’t see much reason to expect a “breakout.” That #3 prospect ranking back in the day was largely driven by those statistics posted in Double AA, somewhat like how Brandon Wood’s minor league exploits pushed his perception.

    Rasmus is an above average talent, but his tools never seemed on a truly elite level like Upton, Bruce, etc. Remember, he fell to 28th in that draft, and it was not because of signability. If you go back and read the draft articles from 2005, most described him as having “average to above average” tools. Those seem more accurate than the hype which followed.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      I agree with that.

      My main point is that above average CF’s are not in full supply.

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      • jdbolick says:

        Above average anything is worth holding onto, but I actually believe centerfield is one of the easiest to replace, especially since Rasmus is probably more of a corner man anyway. If the rumored Rays interest is true, then a swap for Desmond Jennings might suit both teams.

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  9. AA says:

    Fear me.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. Loonatikjenn says:

    The Cardinal fanbase seems to be itching for a trade.
    Larussa and the fans prefer John Jay in Centerfield, “he
    knows how to play the game”. Trade Rasmus, several teams
    have shown interest in the past. What is interesting I have
    never heard of another team wanting John Jay.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • CircleChange11 says:

      … and Allen Craig has as many WAR as Jay … in half the plate appearances.

      I like Jon Jay … but as a 4th outfielder, or as lance Berkman’s eventual replacement. I don’t like Jay as the starting CF.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Lewis says:

      “What is interesting I have
      never heard of another team wanting John Jay.”

      I don’t find that interesting at all. Jon Jay is a marginal starter. Nothing more.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. Pat says:

    I think Rasmus still has a lot of value around the league and they would not be selling low on him unless he has another disappointing season next year and starts to get expensive. I can see Tampa Bay and Washington each putting together a very good package for him, and many other teams would be able to use him as well. Even BJ Upton who’s been one of the most frustrating players over the past few years can probably net a decent return because there will be at least one team or two who still believes they can fix him easily.

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  12. Frosty The Snowman says:

    A potential tug of war involving AA and TLR on opposing sides has nearly limitless comedic potential.

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  13. Danny Wind says:

    “Jon Jay is not a CF, neither is Allen Craig, or Skip Schumaker, or …”

    Neither is Rasmus.

    I’ve been a supporter of Rasmus’s for a long time, but the big difference between him and Upton is defense–Rasmus’s fielding has regressed to the extent that it’s hard to see him having a future in center field, and as a left fielder (his arm won’t play in right), his ceiling no longer looks quite as impressive. I think the Cardinals know that trading him now would be selling low–but I expect that they’re still going to do it.

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    • pogotheostrich says:

      I’ll 2nd this. Rasmus has been really bad in CF. If something doesn’t change I don’t see how they can keep him in center.

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    • algionfriddo says:

      BJ Upton is supposedly having an off year defensively. He (not surprisingly) is not very focused. Plus he has been getting poor reads, hesitant jumps on the ball and generally looking a bit listless. He looks great to me but I don’t see him enough to know and I’m no scout. If both Rasmus and BJ were on the same team I can’t see Rasmus playing cf over BJ Upton. That said, I like Rasmus very much. Both SEEM to not be getting anywhere near their potential as players.

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  14. jpg says:

    He had a very nice season last year, especially for a 23 year old at a premium position. But saying he was “spectacular” is going a little over board.

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  15. Tom says:

    Is Rasmus really that much better than Cameron Maybin? Rasmus walks slightly more and strikes out slightly less but otherwise they are very similar hitters. I don’t think Rasmus 2010 will be any better than Maybin this year (their age 24 seasons) accounting for the Petco effect.

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    • Oasis says:

      And the ESPY for worst post in the thread goes to …. Cameron Maybin’s BFF Tom. I’m sorry I shouldn’t make fun of the mentally challenged.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  16. James says:

    Colby Rasmus = younger Mike Cameron without the top-tier defense?

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    • chuckb says:

      And most Cards’ fans think that’s a bad player.

      The problem is that too many Cards’ fans compare him to Jim Edmonds and anything less than .300/35/110 w/ Gold Glove defense is a huge letdown. Instead they’d rather have Jon Jay.

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  17. Ed Nelson says:

    Everyone hung the superstar label on him after that monster 2007 season at AA Springfield a little unfairly. AA Springfield has a HR park effect of 1.24 (3 year average) and can play as a total bandbox. Joe Mather was slugging .607 there before he moved up to AAA. He’s a very good CF but sometimes when people are judging his ceiling I’m not sure what it is they’re talking about.

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    • Antonio Bananas says:

      Right field seems to get blasted quite often at Hammons Field. Left field not quite as much. Most home runs I’ve seen there are within 50 feet of the right field flag pole. I didn’t live in Springfield when Rasmus was here, but I’m guessing him being left handed he probably loved it.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • CircleChange11 says:

      Yeah … the assumption would be that he would put up .280 25 HR 20 SB with good defense seasons on an annual basis … when that line might be his “ceiling”.

      I look forward to see what Rasmus can do with a lesser critical manager. It always amazes me how much TLR favors the Aaron Miles and Skip Schumakers of the world. If he could have a Mike Gallego at each position, it seems like he would.

      I’m not overly disappointed at Rasmus’s hitting. He’s pretty much doing what he’s always done. I think there’s room for him to improve from being more relaxed if the situation occurs where he doesn;t expect the manager to nitpick him after every at bat. I am disappointed at the routes he’s been taking and the admission that he has given up on some plays he could have made.

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  18. Tinman135 says:

    I guess I am having trouble understanding what the problem is with trading him. He had one great season, another decent, and this year has been terrible. He has amazing potential, but Jay has shown that he is clearly the better outfielder and hitter. Rasmus spends about twice as much time in a cold streak than he does in a hot streak. He misplays entirely way too many balls, lacks determination, and overall looks lazy out in the field except for the one time this season he has hustled to rob Luddy of that HR. He isn’t patient if there are runners on base. It almost seems like he swings at three straight pitches. Let us not forget that he doesn’t want to play in STL. He doesn’t like TLR (understandable) but he also doesn’t think he should be in the role of getting on base for the heart of the lineup to drive in, much like his dad has said to the media. TLR has stated that Rasmus consistently ignores the advice from TLR and McGwire about his hitting and pretty much only listens to his father. Come on, the coaches are there for a reason. Who are you going to listen to? The one time holder of the most HR in a season (even if it was with steroids) or the coach of Colby’s high school team? I see no problem in trading Rasmus for a starting pitcher to help out because I seriously doubt that Carp or Westbrook will go that much longer after this year. Just my thoughts though.

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    • Felonius_Monk says:

      Nice that you have spent so much time talking to him you know what he “thinks”.

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      • Tinman135 says:

        Okay, I am going by what has been reported last year after he and TLR had their little fight and after Rasmus and Pujols had their little fight. Rasmus has asked for a trade before, he doesn’t want to be in St. Louis obviously, so what’s the problem? Teams want him, these teams include the Cardinals but also include the Braves and the Rays, we need pitching terribly, more so than a below average hitter like Rasmus, and both the Braves and Rays have pitching to spare.

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    • chuckb says:

      Umm, he’s 24, cost-controlled for 3 seasons beyond this, and is already an above average major league player.

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      • Tinman135 says:

        I’m sorry, I don’t care what stats you are looking at, he is not an “above-average major league player.” I listed all of the reason why he is NOT an above average major league player. He has a cancerous attitude. If he was hitting right below .300 and making plays in the OF, I could see your point, but he isn’t. He watched as a ball went right by him against Arizona, a hit from the pitcher that allowed three runs to score. It almost seems like he falls asleep in the OF sometimes. Unless the ball is hit right to him or within 3 feet in any direction, he won’t get it. Jay, although older, is the more skilled fielder. He has a stronger arm, knows which base to throw to. Perhaps Colby is playing so terribly so that the fans and management will hate him enough to get him out of St. Louis since that is what he and Daddy want so much.

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      • Felonius_Monk says:

        “I’m sorry, I don’t care what stats you are looking at”

        Then you’re on the wrong site, buddy.

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      • Tinman135 says:

        It would be different if stats were everything, but they aren’t. Especially when you are looking at the wrong stats. If you are judging a good pitcher, do you go by his W/L or his ERA? Obviously his ERA is more important in judging his quality. Same with a hitter. You look at his average, RBI and such for offense and errors for defense. Who is the better player? Jay or Rasmus? If you are looking at stats, it’s Jay, if you are watching the games and watching the players, it’s Jay. Survey says? Jon Jay is the better player. Stats from years past tell you nothing about how well a player will do this current year. If that was the case, then Carp should be dominating, but he’s not. Franklin should have been at least halfway decent, but he wasn’t. Rasmus’ stats have progressively gotten worse, and I don’t know if he is tanking on purpose to spite TLR or if he is just not that good, but we need to trade him while he still has some value left and other teams are interested in him.

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      • Felonius_Monk says:

        “If you are judging a good pitcher, do you go by his W/L or his ERA?”

        I generally use about a 1:2 ratio of W/L record and balks/9IP to judge a pitcher. I assumed that was more or less universal these days.

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  19. Mark Doo says:

    O HAI GUISE. MY NAME’S MARK DOO.

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  20. gradygradychase says:

    Colby Rasmus is the 24-year-old 3 WAR centerfielder on the floor, while 5 to 6 WAR on the ceiling.

    Tony La Russa is probable the 1 to 2 WAR manager at the most.

    Colby Rasmus’ total salaries would be $15M through 2014. That’s the $5M per year.

    Tony La Russa’s yearly salary would be $3M to $4.5M though I don’t know the exact figures.

    Which guy would you want?

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    • cpebbles says:

      The guy I couldn’t trade for a 3 WAR player that fits our needs better, who isn’t counting down the days until he can bolt.

      Also, your $15 million figure is nonsensical.

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    • NEPP says:

      IMHO, a great manager doesn’t necessarily win games for you more so than not lose them. For example, Fredi Gonzalez is a terrible manager…he probably costs his clubs a couple games every season with his moronic decision making.

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      • Felonius_Monk says:

        As a Cardinals fan, LaRussa has been a pretty awful for the last couple of years, although he’s actually done a lot better in 2011 (with, admittedly, a better roster) in terms of not making stupid decisions. But his random favouritism for certain players, politicking, and inability to understand the nature of sample sizes (by no means an inadequacy that affects him alone among MLB managers) are incredibly frustrating.

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  21. Bob says:

    It wasn’t just Rasmus’ season in AA that foreshadowed possible stardom; as a 19-year-old in the Midwest League, he put up a line of .310/.373/.512—exceptional for a teenager.

    The defense has unquestionably disappointed (especially compared to his minor league glovework rep), but the guy is 24, and just scratched the surface of his bat potential, in my opinion.

    I see several .280/.360/.530 type seasons in Colby’s future. (I just hope they happen in a Cardinal uniform.) The young man is in a slump right now, so this is *the* time to ink him to a reasonably-priced 4-6 year contract…not the time to trade him.

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    • slamcactus says:

      I don’t have any particular insight into Rasmus’s mind, but with all the drama he’s gone through in St. Louis, why would he do this? I could see him going for certainty through his arbitration years, but I can’t see him giving the Cards a discount in free agency. Not when he and his manager openly despise one another.

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    • JeremyR says:

      I don’t think he’ll ever hit .280.

      He needed a BABlIP of .354_ to hit .276 last year. That’s probably not ever going to happen again.

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      • JeremyR says:

        Nor will he walk that much – it’s against the team’s philosophy. He got yelled at for walking 5 times in one game earlier in the season.

        Which is crazy, but they said he wasn’t being aggressive enough at the plate.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        See my comment about JD Drew’s BB% increasing significantly once he left StL.

        StL used to bat Schumaker 2nd. Theriot’s BB%, as a leadoff hitter no less, has fallen to 5.5% as a Cardinal.

        Jon Jay = 5.6%
        Freese = 6.3%
        Schumaker = 6.7%
        Molina = 7.0%

        Berkman in the only Cardinal regular with a BB% over 12, although they have a handful of 11%’ers.

        Amazingly, they are 4th in the majors in walks, and 5th in BB%. I’m at a loss.

        ——————————

        Essentially, the expectation for Rasmus is to be perfectish. Be aggressive, but don’t swing at bad pitches, and cut down on the strikeouts … as if every batter can mix the mindsets of “being patient” and “being aggressive”.

        Looking at his swing data and pitch information, he is popping up at double+ his career rate … and he’s getting beaten by anything that’s not a fastball … especially sliders/cutters. I am curious to whether these are RHP using them to get in on his hands, or if they are from LHPs using them away?

        Pitchers are getting ahead of him early and then going out of the zone.

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  22. Antonio Bananas says:

    I’m willing to bet that once he gets away from LaRussa he explodes. LaRussa is a dickhead.

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    • chuckb says:

      As a Cards’ fan, I agree that he’ll never reach his potential with La Russa at the helm. I just hope that Mozeliak will hold onto him long enough to wait out La Russa. Unfortunately, no one in the Cards’ organization, from the owner to the GM, knows how to tell La Russa “No!”.

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      • Taskmaster says:

        As much as this debate has been rehashed over and over again on Cardinal blogs, Mozeliak hasn’t given me any reason to think that Rasmus is on the market, other than speculation from several writers that he might be.

        TLR being around and having so much authority is ultimately on Bill DeWitt if anyone. I just hope TLR retires after this one before Colby is too fed up with St. Louis (Although, he hasn’t been as frustrating as he has been in years past this year).

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  23. JeremyR says:

    Firstly, St. Louis is a terrible environment for him. Management hates him, fans hate, the media hates him (rarely does a day go by without the cities top sports columnist taking a shot at him), dunno about his teammates. Pretty much only the GM and the player development guy like him.

    It was so bad last year he requested a trade. Now it’s even worse. Darn close to mobs with pitchforks and torches.

    Secondly, I think this year is more in line with what to expect from him. His BABIP was crazy high last year, this year it’s a more reasonable .291. A little low, but not that low. He’s just not going to be a superstar. A slightly above average CFer, sure.

    But that’s if he defense doesn’t erode further. He doesn’t really hit good enough to be a corner outfielder. But if it trends this way, he won’t be a CFer in a few years…

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  24. Mr Met says:

    Jason Bay is über talented and could be available in a Rasmus deal if the Cards threw in either Miller or Martinez

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  25. Robbie G. says:

    Is there a reason why St. Louis shouldn’t just kick Tony LaRussa to the curb when the season is over? If not before? Or is he considered an icon in St. Louis and/or by ownership?

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    • Antonio Bananas says:

      It’s really not so much how great Tony is or that he’s an icon. I can tell you that most people who are Cards fans hate TLR. I’ve been to games where, during one of LaRussa’s bullpen mexican hat dances fans have said “I don’t even care anymore, I hope the next guy hits a home run so LaRussa will stop doing this shit”.

      The reason LaRussa gets away with so much is because Dave Duncan is his pal and so is Pujols. As much of a cancer as LaRussa is, Duncan is a savior. Pujols is the best player in the world.

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  26. Jair Jarrkjens says:

    If Rasmus really is fed up with TLR and his situation in STL, I wonder if he isn’t intentionally tanking. Maybe he realized after he requested a trade last year that, with is value as high as it was, STL would only be willing to trade him if they got elite prospects in return, so now he’s intentionally lowering his value so as to make a lesser return more acceptable. That’s a lot of speculation, but that scenario might help explain why he’s not only looked unimpressive at the plate so far this year, but why he’s looked so bad in the field, too. Didn’t Gary Sheffield admit to intentionally making errors in the field so that Milwaukee would trade him, way back in the day?

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      I don;t think he’s intentionally tanking. I think he’s a young player that has had his confidence beat out of him, and goes to each at bat and play with the mindset of how he’ll screw it up this time.

      When he does something well, the sentiment seems to be “it’s about time” and when he does something poorly, it’s chalked up to his lack of caring or nonchalance.

      Once TLR has you in the doghouse, you don’t get out. Media, often, just parrots the manager.

      What he needs is a “mentor/father” type bench coach that can shield him from the manager at times, and take him under his wing and just continually reassure him that he’s going to be okay. TLR is the “father figure” type that reinforces through “constructive criticism”, and that’s not something Rasmus’s type needs.

      When players are reputed to be very talented and they don;t play the game like Rex Hudler, they often get the lazy or disinterested label. We can form a long list of these guys … and many of them are very good … but get mocked because they’re not as good as we think they should be … or worse, not as good as we think we’d be if we had their talent.

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  27. Carl says:

    The kid is 24 years old and had a rough first half; how about we step back from the ledge on all of this talk about how this is “as good as he’s going to get”? A dozen commenters said some version of this. Why? Because B.J. Upton never got better, and the article happens to mention B.J. Upton? Rasmus is not Upton. They have very different body types – Upton never filled out, Rasmus already has. Despite the similarities in some of their numbers, they have different games – Rasmus always had more power potential, which will probably lead to more walks down the road than Upton gets, etc., etc.

    The Cardinals have no reason to trade this guy. They have plenty of pitching long-term: Garcia, Wainwright coming back, Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez down on the farm. Keep your CF, and stop talking about it so much.

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    • Antonio Bananas says:

      One of Miller and Martinez will be failures. Waino is 30 and coming off surgery, in all likelihood his best days are behind him. He’ll be effective, but will probably be on the decline. Garcia I’m still not sold on. Let’s see him string together a few good years. A ton of guys come in strong and fizzle out. The sad state of the Cards system, Pujols and Carp (and Waino) contract uncertainty all makes me think that they need to be very smart about how they assemble their team the next 2 years.

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      • ambill10 says:

        I agree that at least one of Miller and Martinez will likely fail just based on the percentages. However, both succeeding at this point is as likely as both failing with one succeeding remaining the most likely outcome.

        I’m not sure why you are so down on Wainwright. He had TJS, not a should issue. Guys come back just fine from TJS all the time. He’s 30, that’s not ancient for a starting pitcher. It is unfortunate that he is missing his age 29 season since it would likely have been one of his best, but there’s no reason he can’t continue at an elite level into his mid-thirties still.

        You’re not sold on Garcia? What does it take for you to be sold on someone? He had a great rookie season and has been the Cardinals best SP this year so far.

        The Cardinals farm system is improving rapidly and will be ranked in the middle of the pack this off season most likely. There still aren’t many bats to get excited about, but the pitching they are developing (not just Miller and Martinez) is impressive.

        I don’t disagree with the need to be “very smart” but that is true for everyone outside of New York and Boston. You just seem very negative on one of the most consistent franchises of the last two decades that is currently tied for their division lead…

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      • Felonius_Monk says:

        The Card’s farm system is probably one of the top 10 in baseball now, simply because the player development has always been strong, and there’s a massive amount of depth (that’s pretty certain to produce a role-player or two) in terms of pitching, with two legitimate top-20-in-baseball stud prospects in Miller and Martinez.

        Carpenter’s gone next year, but other than that you’ve pretty much nailed the absolute worst-case scenario for the team; which team (other than maybe the Yankees) wouldn’t struggle is their 30 year-old ace declines, their best young pitcher tanks and their best prospect completely fails? In 2013 the rotation looks like Wainwright, Garcia, Miller, Lynn, Cleto/Swagerty/Kelly/free-agent/whoever, and is going to cost about $20m. There is a lot for Cardinals’ fans to get excited about going forward, regardless of the Pujols contract hoo-ha.

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    • jdbolick says:

      The reason I suggested that Rasmus won’t get substantially better is that I never at any point believed that he was more than what he currently is. This is a guy who was never considered elite until that monster season in AA rocketed him up prospect lists. The article mentions him being #3 at one point in BA’s Top 100, but if you go back and look at the list for 2006, he wasn’t even on it. Meanwhile Upton (#2), Gordon (#13), Clement (#33), Zimmerman (#15), Braun (#49), Tulowitzki (#25), Maybin (#31), McCutchen (#50), and Bruce (#76) from that draft class all were. Rasmus was described as a guy with “average to above average” tools across the board, then minor league statistical success suddenly thrust him into unreasonable expectations. He is a good player, but he never should have been expected to become a great player. He has an extreme fly ball rate and slightly below average contact skills to go along with above average but not elite power. That’s not the profile of a future superstar.

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  28. von_bluff says:

    I guarantee you, just by reading the comments, that as soon as he’s freed from TLR’s iron grip, dude is gonna beast out! I’m 24 myself and also hate my job, I could only imagine how awesome it would feel to work for someone other than my PITA boss.

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  29. Oasis says:

    I love how somebody with a .326 wOBA & 109 RC+ is having a “horrible” season. People really need to learn what words really mean …

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  30. Jeffrey lage says:

    The cardinals had a very similar (and Im surprised no one else has made this comparison yet) start to his career as j.d. Drew. The cards felt drew never reached his potential. Trading him net the team Jason marqui and Adam wainwright (and ray king).

    I loved drew, but like Rasmus, will/would he ever reach his potential?

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      The big issue TLR had with JD Drew is the same one he had with Scott Rolen …. he didn’t think he/they were really hurt a lot of the time they were out.

      TLR over values grit. It’s that simple.

      The pattern has been that once you’re on TLR’s bad side … you’re gone. The difference in this case is that TLR may be near the end of his career … so appeasing him may not be as important as it once was.

      If Pujols leaves StL, I would not (at all) be surprised to see TLR retire. AP5 makes up for a lot of deficiencies in the roster and managing strategy.

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  31. eugene says:

    i thought you were talking about jd drew bro

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  32. Bob says:

    Actually, it’s a top-5 farm system right now, with two super-elite starters in Miller/Martinez, top 25 prospect Oscar Taveras hitting .371 with a .934 OPS in the Midwest League at age 18/19 … top 50 prospect Matt Adams batting an insane .350/.400/.650 in Double-A at 22, and top 75-100 depth like Kolten Wong, Tyrell Jenkins, and perhaps Anthony Garcia.

    And I’m probably underselling Wong, who’s murdering the Midwest League so far as a 20-year-old (.333/.420/.561 with a superior 8/5 BB/K ratio).

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    • Felonius_Monk says:

      I’m a Cards fan, but there is no way in the world half of those guys in the top 100 in all of baseball. Obviously CMart and Miller are top 20 at least, but Jenkins is a reach, and about the only other guy who could even scrape in is Taveras (and I’m a big fan of his). Wong and Adams are league average major leaguers if they pan out, not high-end prospects. And Anthony Garcia is an enormous WTF. I doubt he’s in the top 2000 prospects in baseball.

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  33. Bob says:

    Well, if Tyrell Jenkins is a reach for the top 100, then Keith Law must be Elasticman, ’cause Jenkins is in Law’s updated top 50.

    As for Taveras, he was the youngest regular in the Appy League last year, and posted an OPS about 200 points above the league. That got him in my top 50-60 range, just below fellow rookieballers Sano & Sanchez. And now Taveras is killing the Midwest League—where, of course, he’s very young for *that* level. Excellent athlete, equal power to all fields, no platoon issues, and a solid defensive outfielder with room to grow into his frame and add more pop(6′ 2″ and 180 right now). For me, he’s currently in the 15-25 range among all prospects.

    If Wong pans out, in his prime he’s a perennial .310/.380/.470 keystoner with average glovework and baserunning—or roughly a 5-6 WAR guy.

    If Adams pans out, I’d say he’ll be good for a .290-.300 average, 40-50 walks, and a slugging percentage in the .540-.560 range. That looks like a 4-WAR guy at least.

    Garcia? Yes, he’s a reach…but right now he’s hitting .333 in the age-appropriate Appy, with 40% of his hits going for extra bases. This after tearing up the GCL last year, with outstanding strikezone control (which, unfortunately, has yet to carry over).

    But, yeah, on balance it’s a top-flight system right now.

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  34. lolololool says:

    Yeah i guess the convo starts with Lawri-o wait… Cory Patterson.

    +27 Vote -1 Vote +1

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