2010-11 Free Agency

Trade Option: Colby Rasmus

Recently, the Cardinals made it clear that they were not trading Colby Rasmus, their 24-year old centerfielder oozing with star potential. With good reason, St. Louis wanted to keep the young, cheap player after he hit 23 home runs and drove in 66 runs a year ago. As of yesterday, his name is back out on the rumor mill.

A contentious relationship with manager Tony LaRussa led to Rasmus becoming part of the rumors around the trade deadline this past summer, however, nothing came of it. Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweeted yesterday that three contending clubs could be angling to make a play for the talented outfielder. Could the Phillies be one of those teams with the impending loss of Jayson Werth?

Rasmus made just $418,000 in 2010 and has another season ahead of him before he even hits arbitration. For his caliber of play, he’s as cheap as they come. On the flip side, he’ll cost a pretty penny on prospects and it would have to be worth the Cardinals while to replace him.

There doesn’t seem to be a concrete reason that the Cardinals would want to push such a talented player out the door, but it seems as though the front office in St. Louis could be ready to choose the manager over the kid. If a little tiff with Tony LaRussa is the reason, then the Cards loss is another teams gain.

Now to the numbers: Rasmus followed up an up and down rookie campaign in 2009 with an exceptional step forward in 2010. In ’10, he played three more games and his average jumped from .251 to .276, his homers went from 16 to 23, and his OPS made a considerable leap from .714 to .859. That .859 OPS mirrors Ryan Howard’s OPS for the 2010 season and was 27 points better than Chase Utley’s. Not bad for a 24-year old.

His defense has fluctuated during his two seasons according to FanGraphs. In his rookie year of ‘09, his UZR was an exceptional 10.2. Last year that figure dropped to a -6.5. If you look at the in-between, a 3.2 UZR is slightly better than average. The question would be; what do you do with him in Philadelphia?

With Shane Victorino entrenched in centerfield, Rasmus would have to play out of his normal position in right. However, the speed of the Phillies outfield would be fantastic. Again, he’s another left-handed bat that would add to an overloaded lefty lineup. Rasmus falls in line with Grady Sizemore as a less-than-perfect fit.

Rasmus is a career .217 hitter against left-handed pitching meaning as a five-hole hitter, the Phillies would be in trouble in late-inning situations.

CHANCES: 2/10 – Again, another lefty who struggles against left-handed pitching and would add to that already too-lefty lineup the Phils trot out there everyday. Rasmus is a fine young player, but the chances of him coming here aren’t great unless a counter move is made to make the lineup lefty-friendly.

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