According to a team release, the Jays have avoided arbitration with Colby Rasmus, signing him to a one-year deal worth $4.675-million, or just a hair above what Matt Swartz projected for him over at MLBTR back in October.
The deal is what it is. It’s what Rasmus was going to earn in arbitration no matter what, so quibbling over the figure is pointless. What’s perhaps interesting, though, is the fact that the last two arbitration-eligible players the Jays have signed longer-term extensions with, Brandon Morrow and Casey Janssen, had already exchanged numbers with the club and were headed towards arbitration hearings when their deals took place.
What I’d say this portends, then, is that an extension for Rasmus isn’t in the cards this winter– which should come as a surprise to no one, save maybe those who lapsed into a coma at the All-Star break and are just now coming to.
Unless something happens in-season, or next winter, it looks as though Colby will head into 2014 as a pending free agent, with Anthony Gose breathing down his neck. Hardly the picture envisioned when Alex Anthopoulos supposedly stole him from the World-Series-bound St. Louis Cardinals, huh?
Eric Seidman of FanGraphs took a look at whether Rasmus was worth an extension back in mid-September, and didn’t see a whole lot of reason to think so– as anyone who has watched the Jays closely over his year-and-a-half tenure will attest– but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll never get one. I dunno… maybe getting to work more frequently with Chad Mottola this season will help?
I mean, undoubtedly talent is still there. He was so good for a stretch that his overall numbers don’t look nearly as abysmal as they maybe should, and the 23 home runs and 8.5% first half walk rate are somewhat encouraging– as is the hope that, either because he mentally checked out on a lost Jays season, or was hampered by nagging injuries and insistent on playing as long as he could, given how so many others around him had succumbed to injury, the end of his 2012 wasn’t maybe as bad as it would have, in other circumstances, looked.
I’m definitely not as hopeful, or as willing to make those kinds of excuses as I was a year ago, but he’s still young enough and talented enough to not give up on him. I can still manage to tap a reservoir of hope that being on a team that’s actually playing for something helps. Or maybe even that something as seemingly small as his participation in the club’s Winter Tour has an positive impact– after all, here’s what he said to Atta Almasi of BlueJays.com:
“Everybody’s so pumped up about the moves we made in the offseason. Yesterday we got to go to a hospital and meet some of the kids here in Edmonton, which was great. They were so jacked up about meeting us as players and that put a smile on their face, and we were able to sign some autographs, so hopefully that’ll boost their spirits a little bit and make them want to fight a little harder because that’s what it’s all about. Being in this position, and to see those kids, it’s humbling. And it just makes you want to play hard for them and everybody else just to give everybody a boost of some excitement.”
I don’t know… but I’ll take whatever positive signs I can get. Though, I can’t lie, the fact that I’m much more comfortable with Anthony Gose than I have been in the past definitely soothes my jangled nerves in this regard as well.
So what I’ll say is, ultimately the Jays made the right move in not committing more than they had to in the enigmatic Rasmus today, but that doesn’t mean we still shouldn’t be rooting for him to earn a bigger payday– or assuming yet that it’s a hopeless to think he one day might.