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The Colby Rasmus Dillema And More
- Updated: July 19, 2011
Teams are inquiring about the Cardinals young CF Colby Rasmus, but is John Mozeliak listening?
Rasmus is a cost control player for the Cardinals, so it’s hard to believe they would trade him, a player with such enormous potential, when there is a lot of business to be done in the offseason (Pujols, Carpenter, Wainwright, etc…). General Manager John Mozeliak has said he isn’t shopping Raz, and others in the organization back him up. However, there are teams (The Nationals to name one) that have inquired about the center fielder, and if the offer is right, the Cardinals may be forced to pull the trigger. With a player/manager relationship that has obviously been strained, Colby’s father, Tony Rasmus, constantly throwing himself into the mix, and the recent slump Rasmus is in, the Cardinals may be running out of patience as they wait for this five-tool talent to develop into the all-star he has the potential to be.
What could the Cardinals get in return for Rasmus? Rumors are that the Nationals are willing to part with closer Drew Storen and possibly SS Ian Desmond and Tampa may give up a young starter such as Hellickson, but none of these options should leave the Cardinals satisfied. Yes, Storen has done a great job for Washington this year and Desmond would be an upgrade defensively over Theriot, but is that enough to give up on the talent that Rasmus could become? If the Cardinals do end up trading Rasmus they need to get a proven talent, someone they know will help the club right now, which becomes the issue. A proven talent won’t come cheap and the Cardinals aren’t in a position to take on additional payroll until the Albert Pujols contract is taken care of. The Cardinals need players like Rasmus, a cost control player, to develop and be strong contributors to the team if they plan on keeping El Hombre.
Trading Rasmus leaves Jon Jay as the everyday center fielder, and, while Jay has done a good job filling in for a couple games per week, it is important to remember that he was given more opportunities in the second half last season and was clearly overexposed. The more at-bats Jay had, the more his numbers dropped. Pitchers started to figure him out. This season, in spot starts and pinch hit appearances, Jay has had a lot of success, but would his numbers drop again if he became an every day player? It looks as if the Cardinals are intent on retaining Rasmus unless they are blown away with a great offer, and this seems to be the right decision. The upside of Rasmus is too much to trade away with all of the questions that would come as a result (Does Jay succeed as an every day player and do the players you acquire in return provide the same cost effectiveness as Rasmus does). For now, Rasmus, his father, Tony LaRussa, and the hitting instructors for the Cardinals will have to work together to find some way to get Rasmus on track.
Even if they hold on to Rasmus, The Cardinals need to make a trade or two in order to put them over the top in the central division and vault them into the playoffs. Milwaukee, Cincinnati, and the surprising Pittsburgh Pirates won’t stand still. Milwaukee has already made a move in acquiring bullpen help and Cincinnati GM Walt Jocketty is never silent at the trading deadline.
If the Cardinals only have salary cap room and trade chips to make one deal, it should be for a starting pitcher. Pitching wins championships and the Cardinals shouldn’t just be satisfied to win the division and make the playoffs. The goal should be to make a deep run and give themselves a chance to be World Series Champions. If the Cardinals meet the Phillies in the postseason they will need another solid starter. After Carpenter and Garcia the options and match-ups against the top teams won’t be favorable. Lohse is inconsistent, Westbrook hasn’t pitched well at all, and McClellan can’t go deep into games.
The offense, when healthy, will put up runs. If the Cardinals can get a solid starter (Ubaldo Jimenez anyone?) to put with Carpenter and Garcia, McClellan can slide to the bullpen and the team will be tremendously better in postseason play. Jimenez may be too pricey but he is the kind of player that could put the Cardinals over the top. Mozeliak has a tough task ahead of him if he wants to solidify this team without increasing the payroll so much that it hinders him signing Pujols in the offseason and without trading top prospects Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez.
Photo Courtesy of flickr user Keith Allison