Rasmus Back In Missouri

The news broke late Monday night over at MLB Trade Rumors that former Cardinal centerfielder, Colby Rasmus, may end up wearing powder blue on the other side of the state in 2012.

Rasmus was the center piece in the Cardinals trade deadline deal that brought pitching and bench help to St. Louis during the stretch run. An outfielder with huge potential, Rasmus had been highly touted as a can’t miss player in St. Louis for many years. When he arrived in St. Louis, however, he would struggle under manager Tony LaRussa.

LaRussa, known for his tinkering and adjusting, limited Rasmus in duty against left handed pitchers early on in his career. Colby was no saint in the situation, demanding to be traded not once but twice, and refusing the help of team coaches in an apparent desire to follow the teaching of his father. Colby’s performance and attitude soured and after a year long battle behind the scenes with management, he was shipped off to Toronto.

An already tough season would see the wheels fall off when Colby arrived north of the border. The outfielder struggled in the new system and performed horribly down the stretch. A look at Colby’s career numbers:

2009 STL 147 474 72 119 22 2 16 52 3 36 95 .251 .307 .407 .714
2010 STL 144 464 85 128 28 3 23 66 12 63 148 .276 .361 .498 .859
2011 TOT 129 471 75 106 24 6 14 53 5 50 116 .225 .298 .391 .688
2011 STL 94 338 61 83 14 6 11 40 5 45 77 .246 .332 .420 .753
2011 TOR 35 133 14 23 10 0 3 13 0 5 39 .173 .201 .316 .517
3 Seasons 420 1409 232 353 74 11 53 171 20 149 359 .251 .322 .432 .754
162 Game Avg. 162 543 89 136 29 4 20 66 8 57 138 .251 .322 .432 .754
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/29/2011.

Colby’s drop off in 2011 makes him a gamble in 2012. That being said, very few people feel that 2011 was the true Colby Rasmus. He is young (25 years old) and still has a big chance to grow. He is a proven commodity at the major league level and can provide some pop.

The National Post reported in September that Rasmus seemed a bit out of sorts. When asked about his timing at the plate, the article read this way:

Yet when asked about the focus of his daily drills, Rasmus replied: “I’m not working on anything right now.”

He said he is eager for the season to end, for the pressure of high expectations to fade, for a few months away from baseball to dissolve the bitter taste of his final days in St. Louis.

“I still got a lot of stuff going on through my head from being over in St. Louis,” Rasmus said before the Jays’ final home game Thursday night.

In addition, in that same article, it did not appear that Colby was open to the coaching being offered to him:

“I feel like I’ve played the outfield pretty good but my hitting’s been terrible,” he said. “But I wasn’t hitting good before I got here, so I didn’t really put too much expectation on myself to do good.”

The interview took place shortly after manager John Farrell said the Jays want Rasmus to stop trying to pull the ball on every swing. He needs to use the whole field and refine the timing of his leg kick, which serves as the trigger for his swing, Farrell said.

Even after a reporter told him what Farrell had said, Rasmus insisted he was “not working on anything.”

“I’m just going out there and hitting. Trying not to think too much. That’s where I got in trouble in the beginning.”

After joining the Jays, he said he tried “to fix too much stuff in the middle of the season, which is not a good idea. So I’m just going out there and playing and just riding it out, and then work on it in the off-season.”

The concern for me is his attitude. I have been a big supporter of Jeff Francoeur on this team due to his leadership qualities with the younger ballplayers. He has shown solid veteran leadership and fits in well to the grand scheme of the team growing in maturity and competing in the near future. Colby can be a strong part of that nucleus, but if he continues to buck against the system and his coaches, he could quickly become a clubhouse cancer.

With the recent additions of Jonathan Broxton and Jonathan Sanchez, the Royals are showing they are willing to take a bit of a risk on a high potential return. They seem to be making solid moves towards the future. Colby has the potential to be a part of a very strong future in Kansas City. He also has the potential to shake the foundation of the franchise from within.

It will be up to Dayton Moore to decide which side of the argument he feels has the greater potential.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

Author: Bill Ivie

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1 Comment

  1. I still feel that Rasmus fell on the wrong side of LaRussa’s doghouse and was a bit ruined by the Cardinals. I don’t buy the attitude thing at all. And if he does have a bad attitude, it’s because of the defensive posture the Cardinals forced him on. I hope for his sake that he can get his career back on track.

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