Archive for the ‘Colby Rasmus’ Category

colbydog

“My hits are, like pow, suck on that, you know?”

- Colby Rasmus

Damn straight. Video of last night’s awesome, tenth inning blast after the jump.

But first, because there we haven’t quite hit the teams-ahead-of-us-beating-up-on-each-other portion of the schedule yet, let’s have a look at who we’re cheering for this weekend — i.e. who the opponents of the teams the Jays are chasing are:

Jays @ Red Sox (Obviously!)
White Sox @ Cleveland (Jays ahead of Cleveland, but go Sox regardless!)
Royals @ Yankees (Sew up that Central and get these Yankees out of our fucking faces, Royals!)
Giants @ Tigers (Tigers fading away like a post-industrial hellscape ghost town? Ironyyyyyyyy!*)
Mariners @ Rangers (Rangers gotta win sometime, right? Right???)
Astros @ Athletics (A’s trying to put the first Wild Card back in play? I can live with that!)
Orioles @ Rays (Pointless to pay attention here, but fuck the Orioles anyway.)

Cubs in for three early next week, which are not unwinnable games either. Holy shit!

And now, as promised, Colbeh:

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I can’t yet say that this will be a daily feature (weekdays, that is (most likely) — I try not to weekends) from here until July 31st, but with the Jays still doing swimmingly, trade season about to heat up, and the club still with plenty of use for many parts, big and small, it probably will serve us well to have a look at what the invaluable, fantastic, and comprehensive MLB Trade Rumors is telling us about today (and maybe yesterday, too)…

Not from MLBTR as yet, but a good one: Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Jays have interest in Padres third baseman, and future Yankee, Chase Headley. This would be awesome news if it were 2012, when he was worth 7.2 WAR, but Headley is struggling this year. He’s hitting .199/.286/.328, which is good for a wRC+ of 79. In a weird way, though, maybe that’s a good thing. His defence is solid, so he’d still be useful, and it was just last year that he put up a 113 wRC+ and 3.5 wins. There’s more there than he’s shown this year, I have no doubt, and partly that’s likely because, as Sanders points out, he has a “herniated disc that required an epidural injection last week.” So maybe you can get a real talent for pennies on the dollar. Or… maybe you get the guy with the herniated disc who can’t help you at all at the plate. I’d absolutely take the chance, though, seeing as Sanders figures the return “likely won’t pry teams’ best prospects from their grips and might not fetch much more than salary off the books the second half of the season, which the Padres’ next general manager could factor into the 2015 payroll.” Headley makes $10.255-million this year. If they dealt for him today the Jays would be responsible for over $5-million of that. He’s a free agent at the end of the season (and if he’s traded, he won’t net his new club a draft pick if he walks). Do it.

Steve Adams examines a potential Daniel Murphy extension, which, of course, would take the Mets’ second baseman out of the trade market. That may not matter to us anyway, though, as Jon Heyman tweets that the Jays are looking for a second baseman, but not him, because they are far from enamoured with his defence.

In a roundup last night’s pitching rumours, we’re told of a Buster Olney piece that suggests teams are looking for alternatives to the Jeff Samardzijas of the world, such as Wade Miley of the Diamondbacks or Tyson Ross of the Padres — guys with lots of team control left who will likely be quite expensive before their current teams are ready to contend again, and who could be acquired in a similar way to how the Tigers got Doug Fister in 2011. Do it! Meanwhile, we’re told that Ken Rosenthal suggests that the Cardinals shouldn’t deal Oscar Tavares for David Price (though if they would, there’s not much chance of anyone else beating their offer), while Heyman says that the industry consensus appears to be that Samardzija isn’t extending with anybody, and is dead set on hitting the open market.

The Diamondbacks have released reliever J.J. Putz, making him a free agent. He’s got a bad ERA, but quite good peripherals (6.59 ERA, 3.45 FIP, 3.72 xFIP), a good strikeout rate (9.22 K/9), and a manageable, if not great, walk rate (6 BB in 13.2 innings). I can’t see the Jays being his first choice, but the fact that they’re in first place and — like everybody else — need bullpen help can’t hurt. I’d totally go after him.

In a roundup of a Jayson Stark chat, we’re told that the Phillies may ratchet up their efforts to trade Jonathan Papelbon (still intriguing if they eat a shit-tonne of money, I think, but not if you’re paying solely for results with no discount of those peripherals), and that the Dodgers are not going to trade top prospects Joc Pederson and Corey Seager this summer, which MLBTR speculates will take them out of the running for David Price. And why should they be in the running? They’re going to sign him without giving up any prospects in two winters anyway.

In an AL East roundup that also included the Heyman tweet about Murphy, we’re told that the Red Sox — currently eight games behind the Jays at 36-43 — are still consider whether to buy or sell, but may end up dealing veterans and promoting prospects. Long-term, that’s a great idea for the Sox (who are prospect heavy to begin with), but short term? Fuck it — do it! Sell!

Lastly, Gavin Floyd has undergone season-ending surgery, so… so much for him being a rental that the Jays might have had some interest in (which, despite the fact that the Braves are in a playoff position, he might have been, thanks to the presence of Alex Wood in the minors).

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Colby Rasmus is on his way to the Bronx, as the busy Twitter fingers of all the beat writers down at Yankee Stadium have informed us that he’ll be activated from the DL in time for tomorrow’s game, with Anthony Gose heading the other way. Gregor Chisholm’s tweet was the first in my timeline.

Rasmus hasn’t quite got his timing back at Buffalo, by the sounds of it (though Bisons play-by-play man Ben Wagner tweets that two of his outs were long fly balls), but… so what? He was 0-for-4 tonight for the herd, but he didn’t strike out, and he manned centre field, which at least shows that the important thing — his wonky hamstring — is moving in the right direction. Alex Anthopoulos spoke about all this with media today in a quote that we find in Gregor’s excellent transcript of the scrum over at his North of the Border blog, explaining, “Sure, there’s a timing component of getting his at-bats but I remember last year, I don’t think he did all that well on his rehab assignment, he came back and hit three or four home runs in a short period. It’s as much making sure he gets those reps in the outfield but you’re not going to run him three or four days right out of the chute.”

As for Gose, he had a nice day on Sunday, and took a walk today — and probably should have done so in his ninth inning at-bat, though umpire Jordan Baker saw it differently (including on one that he’d been calling all night and we shouldn’t get quite as upset at (more on this in the next post) — but things have been pretty dismal since his hot start. The talk about jettisoning Rasmus in favour of Gose that was all the rage a couple short weeks ago has quieted to nothing, and for good fucking reason. Part of that is Juan Francisco — though he had a double and a walk today, which an optimist may see as reason to believe he’s pulling out of his current trough — but while Gose’s OBP is still a more-than-passable-given-his-defence .351, heading into this game his last 48 plate appearances had produced just a .171/.277/.220 line, which… well… uh… it isn’t passable.

Add to that the fact that you see some of the old trouble spots for him — being late on fastballs, and a 31.3% strikeout rate over the past two weeks, as opposed to the 19.2% rate he posted in his first 52 plate appearances (over which he hit .310/.420/.381) — and you see why the move was made.

If the real Gose is somewhere in the middle, that would be a very, very good thing. So this most recent stint in the majors, though now clearly not the one that will see him say goodbye to the minors forever, has hardly been all for naught. Yet it’s impossible to argue that this wasn’t the right call for the Jays to make right now. He should get back to hitting, get back to a place where he’s more comfortable, and continue to refine his offensive game however he can.

And the Jays should get Rasmus right back into this lineup, and hope that he shows more spark than he did in Buffalo, or when he was here and healthy in April. Thing is: after what we saw last year, there’s no reason to think he won’t, which is great, because hoo boy, that’ll fuckin’ help.

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Oh and things were so positive-ish just a day ago. But all it takes, I guess, is one mess of a pitching performance from the club to bring the panic back in some people. I get it, but I don’t get it.

Last night was the first time in the four starts since he started wearing an insulin pump on the mound, and stopped complaining about tiring around the 60-pitch mark, that Dustin McGowan allowed more than two earned runs, and failed to record an out in the fifth inning.

Has he been great? Hardly. The lack of strikeouts is a problem and 3.68 ERA over the four starts belies the underlying problems in a way that the underlying numbers, and a simple eye test, don’t. The slash line against of .259/.337/.435 and WHIP of 1.45 aren’t so hot, obviously. It’s fifth starter stuff, for sure. But if you’re making a case against him by incorporating his first four starts, might I suggest that you’re hardly being fair.

Oh, but panic, panic.

And now this: though Colby Rasmus was on the field yesterday, preparing for a full session of batting practice, and that John Gibbons suggested he might have been able to play in tonight’s game, and “if not, the next day,” it seems the tune has changed somewhat:

Hey, so that’s awesome. I mean, in terms of sarcastic awesome it’s maybe not as fucking awesome as the Jays bizarrely giving Sportsnet some insight into just how dumbly far behind the progressive field their analytics department is (more on this later), but it’s still pretty awesome. Still not a sure thing, I suppose, but perhaps Anthony Gose, then?

Makes inventing reasons to stop giving Dustin McGowan rope he surely deserves seem a little trivial, eh? You could have spent this time working on ass-brained riffs about how every Jays player who we’re told is “day-to-day” ends up being broken!

 

Update: It’s official. Gose up.

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In this guest post from Kyle Matte we get a look at what the future holds for Colby Rasmus, as he begins his final season before free agency, and whether the Jays can keep him. Follow Kyle on Twitter at @KyleMatte.

When Major League Baseball’s newest Collective Bargaining Agreement was under discussion, both sides acknowledged that the Type A/Type B free agent compensation system needed to be re-worked. It put numerous players in a position where their leverage was being artificially hauled down by a mechanism that offered them little to no benefit. The acceptance of arbitration would at best gain them a one-year deal, and because of the way salary escalation was handled, even the best players were looking at maybe a 20% raise on their previous year’s earnings. Always seeking the security of a long term deal, the offer was almost universally declined.

The two sides came up with the Qualifying Offer – a way to protect teams from losing elite free agents for nothing, while limiting the number of mid-tier free agents carrying draft pick compensation because of the hefty figure involved: a one year deal with a guaranteed salary equal to the average of the top 125 players in all of baseball. Part of that plan has certainly come to fruition. Heading into 2011, 83 free agents had draft pick compensation attached: 33 Type A, 50 Type B. In the two years since the Qualifying Offer was implemented, just 9 and 13 free agents have felt the draft pick noose hung around their neck. What likely wasn’t a part of the plan is that the non-elite free agents still being tagged are finding a market more unwelcoming than ever before, as front offices have proven increasingly protective of their draft picks and bonus money. Some fault must be placed on the agents for misreading the market their clients were jumping head-first into, but any system that prevents above average talent like Stephen Drew from finding legitimate, fair contracts is obviously flawed. Kendrys Morales: there are simply no words for your decision making process.

This system is relevant to Toronto, as come the end of the 2014 season, one of our own will be marching into free agency: Colby Rasmus. Mind you, we thought much the same last year, and we saw how that turned out with Josh Johnson. The situation with Rasmus is different, however, for two main reasons. The first is that he’s been healthy; his 458 plate appearances in 2013 were a career low, and he still had his most productive output. The second is that he’s a position player. Of the 22 players to receive qualifying offers, 16 have been of the non-pitcher persuasion. Teams have, perhaps wisely, been especially wary of spending big on free agent pitchers the last couple of years.

Beyond his health and non-pitcher status, Rasmus has a number of things working in his favor. Colby will be just 28 years old on Opening Day 2014, which would tie him with B.J. Upton as the youngest free agent to receive the Qualifying Offer. Additionally, he’s already displayed an elite-level peak. His 4.8 fWAR in 2013 places him in the company of Robinson Cano, Josh Hamilton, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-SooChoo, Michael Bourn, Curtis Granderson, and Mike Napoli as players who exceeded 4.5 fWAR in any of the three seasons leading up to their free agency. Finally, Rasmus plays an up-the-middle position (catcher, second base, shortstop, center field). Seven signed players met that criteria, and the average contract from that group was an astounding 6 years and 113 million. That is not a prediction of what he will make, merely a guarantee that barring a meteorically catastrophic 2014 season, Colby Rasmus will receive a Qualifying Offer from the Toronto Blue Jays, and he will decline it.

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Joel Sherman of the New York Post, for some reason, is the first one to report this nugget, telling us that the Jays won’t be going to arbitration with Colby Rasmus:

The arbitration projections at MLBTR suggested $6.5-million for Rasmus, so… I guess that’s good for him?

If you’ve forgotten, the Jays have an internal policy under which they won’t negotiate one-year deals with players past the deadline for exchanging arbitration numbers, which happens to be today at 1 PM ET. If they’d gone beyond that, the two sides were either going to go to an arbitrator, or work out a multi-year extension. (Breaking the policy would be another option, I suppose, as well).

This deal doesn’t preclude them from continuing to talk about an extension, of course, but some folks out there thought it was possible that one would get done prior to today. Nope!

According to Sherman, Brett Cecil has also agreed to terms with the club, signing a $1.3-million deal to avoid arbitration, and it would be wholly surprising if we didn’t hear by the end of the day that Esmil Rogers has come to an agreement as well [Update: yep, $1.85-million], seeing as clubs and players alike hate the possibility of going to an arbitrator, because it can often become very contentious, with clubs doing literally all that they can to make the case that their player deserves less money than he’s asking for.

Rogers and Cecil were arbitration eligible for the first time this year, while this was Colby’s third and final time through the process. And I suppose now’s as good a time as any to not that next year’s first-time arbitration eligible players for the Jays will include Brett Lawrie and Steve Delabar.

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I don’t want to get too Colby-centric today, but there has been some discussion on the post about his father’s entirely innocuous comments regarding not whether or not the Jays will trade or extend Rasmus, but whether or not they should. So let’s have a few more quick thoughts on the subject, and jump right into it with this [slightly altered] comment from yours truly:

Similar to Johnson last spring, not a lot of sense in paying for the previous season without seeing if it all works again this year. Yes, they went for it with Bautista based on not a lot of data (which we didn’t agree with around here at the time, though obviously that’s worked out swimmingly), but they obviously believed in the mechanical change. Maybe they think the same with Colby, but I have my doubts. His two best seasons are driven by some pretty big BABIP outliers, and it’s probably not a good idea paying him for BABIP unless he’s doing something different they think will make it sustainable. And while he did make mechanical changes last year — as he’s done almost constantly since he’s been here, seemingly — that’s a little hard to buy. Especially when they don’t have to, or when they can trade him to a team that maybe does, or when they can feel pretty good about either letting him play his way off the team or them getting a pick for him when he walks.

I mean, right now the difference between him and Gose is worth the difference between their salaries, I think, but when Gose is still making league minimum-ish, with a floor of something on the order of 1 WAR thanks to defence alone (maybe higher), and keeping Rasmus means investing $75-million that can’t be invested elsewhere, you’ve got to be really, really certain of him to pull that trigger.

A couple things here:

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