The Toronto Blue Jays have concluded a three team, eleven player deal also involving the Chicago White Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals to acquire center fielder Colby Rasmus.

Here’s how it all shakes out:

To Toronto:

  • Colby Rasmus (From St. Louis)
  • Brian Tallet (From St. Louis)
  • P.J. Walters (From St. Louis)
  • Trever Miller (From St. Louis)
  • Mark Teahen (From Chicago)

To St. Louis:

  • Edwin Jackson (From Chicago)
  • Marc Rzepczynski (From Toronto)
  • Octavio Dotel (From Toronto)
  • Corey Patterson (From Toronto)
  • Three players to be named later or cash considerations (From Toronto)

To Chicago:

  • Jason Frasor (From Toronto)
  • Zach Stewart (From Toronto)

Let’s go over the players involved in this massive transaction.

Jason Frasor

While Frasor has been an exemplary bullpen arm for the team, especially over the last three years, the bottom line is that he is a reliever. Any time you can use a reliever as part of a deal that ends up netting you elite talent, going for it should be a no brainer.

From a White Sox perspective, they get a very consistent reliever, one of the best non closers in baseball on a very good contract considering his team option for next year. And if they don’t want to pick up that option, they can let him go and get the same return as they would’ve if they had held on to Jackson.

Zach Stewart

Giving up Stewart pains me a whole lot less than most. I wasn’t very impressed with the soon to be 25 year old’s seeming inability to miss bats. The lack of offspeed stuff in his repertoire made me think he’d have difficulty as a starter in the AL East and end up finding more success in the bullpen anyway.

Despite my own opinion though, several others with a better pedigree for scouting, claim he’s a top prospect when his changeup is working for him. Either way, the White Sox get a young, controllable pitcher with a fairly good reputation in the baseball world.

I get the feeling though that many people think Stewart is younger than he actually is. Dominating Double A at the age of 24 isn’t really lighting the world on fire, and he hasn’t even been able to do that in New Hampshire this year.

Marc Rzepczynksi

With the wealth of starting pitching already in the team’s system, Marc Rzepczynksi was always going to have a hard time finding a place on this team, as evidenced by his move to the bullpen ahead of this season. After Luis Perez’s emergence as a bonafide left handed option out of the bullpen, his future became even more in doubt.

It will be interesting to see how the Cardinals handle Rzepczynksi. They obviously have a real need for a left hander in the bullpen right now, but after this season they could try to transition him back into being a starter. When he’s pitching his slider for strikes, Rzepczynksi is very difficult to hit. When he’s not, ugh. Not so hot.

Octavio Dotel

From the very moment that the ink dried on Dotel’s contract in Toronto, I was against it. With an already large cabal of right handed relievers he seemed to me to be an incredibly extraneous piece of the bullpen. His early results didn’t change my mind.

Of course, we all know the story with Dotel. He’ll get right handed batters out, but an average left handed hitter turns into Josh Hamilton when he faces Dotel. As we saw more recently, when used properly, Dotel can be a valuable piece of a bullpen. Hopefully for the sake of Cardinals fans, he’s used properly.

Corey Patterson

I still stand shocked remembering how much of this season Patterson spent hitting second in the Toronto Blue Jays lineup. Of his 340 total plate appearances this season, an astoundingly disgusting 275 came while batting second in the order.

Patterson had no present or future value in Toronto, and his inclusion in the deal must be as a means of providing additional depth to a suddenly lacking Cardinals outfield.

Mark Teahen

As for taking on the $5.5 million that Mark Teahen is owed next year, well, that’s just the cost of doing business. The Canadian third baseman and utility outfielder isn’t going to hold up another Canadian third baseman from eventually making his debut with the club. The White Sox saw the opportunity to shed some salary for next season and they included Teahen in the deal as a means of doing so.

Edwin Jackson

Jackson is exactly the type of consistent, yet unspectacular pitcher that you’d expect to bounce around a whole lot. His repertoire consists of a mid nineties four seamer, a mid nineties two seamer, a really good slider and an average changeup. He tends to overuse his slider, but fortunately that hasn’t resulted in any injury trouble for the 6’3″ right hander, having thrown 200+ innings the last two seasons and well on his way to doing so again. He’s a free agent at the end of this season and currently projects to be a Type B (barely).

Brian Tallet

I’m not sure why the Blue Jays wouldn’t want to see more of what Luis Perez can do, but I expect Tallett to fill in for Rzepczynski as a lefty out of the bullpen for the rest of the season before facing free agency. He, like Miller, isn’t projected to bring back any compensation for signing elsewhere.

He’s still nursing some injuries.

Trever Miller

The epitome of a LOOGY, Miller has made 39 appearances this season in St. Louis, but only pitched fifteen and two third innings. He’s a free agent at the end of this season,  but he’s not projected to bring back any compensation.

He’ll fill in as a lefty specialist until Tallet is ready to go.

P.J. Walters

Walters is a right handed pitcher that many pegged to replace Adam Wainwright after the Cardinals ace had Tommy John surgery. Unfortunately, an awful Spring Training didn’t do much to help his case, and he started the year in Triple A.

Walters boasts (I’m being generous here), a four seamer that occasionally touches the low nineties. What he lacks in velocity, he makes up for with the movement on his slider and changeup. Still, I don’t think we can look at Walters as much more than Triple A depth.

He has less than a full year of Major League service time.

Colby Rasmus

As I mentioned in the previous post, acquiring Colby Rasums is certainly exciting news for the Toronto Blue Jays, but it’s not without some risk. While the Blue Jays fill an immediate need and create potential trading chips further down the road, Rasmus hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire this season.

As a young, controllable center fielder who has experienced success at the Major League level, with both his bat and his glove, Rasmus sounds like a dream acquisition for any organization. However, there are a couple of warning signs that might scare off some suitors looking to compare his fantastic 2010 season (.366 wOBA) with his merely above average 2011 (.332 wOBA).

Most notable is his decreased BABIP (from .354 in 2010 to .291 in 2011) and HR/FB (from 14.8% in 2010 to 8.1% in 2011). While there’s some dispute as to what degree these numbers are associated with luck, a significant change in BABIP is almost always a good indicator of something else happening.

In the case of Rasmus, we can see two things leading to the lower batting average for balls in play: 1) He isn’t hitting the ball as often the opposite way; and 2) he’s getting dummied by changeups low and away far more often than last season (11.9% whiff rate in 2010 compared to a 18.1% whiff rate in 2011 on changeups).

There’s been a lot written in recent days about Rasmus’ apparent lack of willingness to listen to the coaches in St. Louis, and that’s not an issue that should be glossed over. There appear to be obvious holes in his swing, but any organization, especially one as well studied as the Blue Jays, would be aware of this, and have to believe that they can fix it.

Overall

The Toronto Blue Jays: As non competitors this season, GM Alex Anthopoulos swapped a pair of compensation picks (at best) in Frasor and Dotel, a player with no present or future value to the club in Patterson, and two fringe starters in Stewart and Rzepczynski for one of the most highly rated young center fielders in baseball. Of course, there’s a risk in any deal, but even without overstating how Rasmus will respond to a change of scenery, this looks like a very good trade from the Blue Jays perspective.

The Chicago White Sox: GM Kenny Williams drops some dead weight and picks up a veteran reliever among the best non closers in the league in Frasor. Stewart may or may not be the prospect that some say he is, but either way, Chicago only gives up a pitcher in Jackson who more than likely wouldn’t have returned to the team next season anyway. They improve their payroll for next year, essentially without risking their competitiveness this season in an American League Central Division that anyone can win. A very good deal for the White Sox.

The St. Louis Cardinals: It seemed as thought GM John Mozeliak wasn’t in the best of positions when it came to moving his young stud center fielder, and while we still don’t know the financial terms, it’s hard to imagine an amount of money going to St. Louis that would justify them giving up Rasmus for a right handed reliever who can’t face left handed batters, another reliever who admittedly does quite well against left handed batters, an outfielder who doesn’t look at home in center or either of the corners and Edwin Jackson, a three month rental, who is probably a number three starter in most rotations. The Cardinals definitely address some needs in the deal, but the cost just seems to be entirely too much. It’s makes me think of a rowing race in which one of the boats throw their best rower overboard to make the boat lighter.