Opinion: Colby Rasmus – worth every cent?

Don't misunderstand his Alabama accent, Rasmus just wants to play ball

Toronto Blue Jays centre fielder Colby Rasmus, can walk away from this season feeling at least a little heroic. 

If you listen to the radio, you may have heard the “Dingers for Dough” commercial done by Colby Rasmus for a local Toronto Chrysler dealer.

I get a dinger and you get dough. Now that’s a double play.”

Rasmus returned to the Toronto Blue Jays lineup on Sept. 13 for the first time since being sidelined on Aug. 11 for his 27th birthday with a strained oblique.

Saturday night, the centre fielder went deep off Chris Tillman for his second home run in as many days, and his 20th on the season. It’s a good time to get that car.

“He looks good,” manager John Gibbons told the Canadian Press. “That doesn’t always happen when you’re out for that long and you don’t get a whole lot of work in.”

Some may find it difficult to understand his southern drawl, but Rasmus is a man of few words anyway – so the centre fielder is letting his bat do the talking in his third year of arbitration eligibility before his free agency kicks in (2015).

Rasmus has been singing the same tune his whole career, so vehemently that I can’t understand why he doesn’t walk up to “Long-Haired Country Boy” by Charlie Daniels.

I like to not be really messed with a whole lot, kind of ‘leave me be’, because I already want it bad enough,” Rasmus said to the Toronto Sun. “So outside pressures or people trying to pump me up (doesn’t work) cause I’ve always been real laid back.”

Known for the flowing locks behind equally stellar defensive play, Rasmus also has himself an above average WOBA (weighted on base average) .360 and team-leading 4.3 WAR (wins above replacement) – Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion just trail with a 4.0.

With 45 plate appearances less than Bautista, and 121 less than Encarnacion, his numbers are pretty impressive – shocking for those who don’t believe in his ability to play.

The lines look a little something like this:

Colby Rasmus: 112 Hits, .275 AVG, .336 OBP, .491 SLG, .828 OPS

Edwin Encarnacion: 143 Hits, .271 AVG, .370 OBP, .532 SLG, .902 OPS

Jose Bautista: 117 Hits, .259 AVG, .358 OBP, .498 SLG, .856 OPS

Yes, his on-base numbers reflect 133 strikeouts on the year, but it’s important to keep in mind that Bautista and Encarnacion have had their share of struggles.

At only 27 years old, Rasmus is still learning discipline at the plate at a pivotal point in his career.

A career that has seen some defining changes over the last couple of years – his departure from the St. Louis Cardinals was more than just grass to turf. The transition from the National to American League not only changes the opponents and style of game, it put the small-town Georgia native a long way from home.

Rasmus lacks no confidence in his ability when he is left to do his own thing. His numbers are back up and similar to his 2010 season with the Cardinals. 

Some more numbers on Rasmus:

2010 St. Louis Cardinals’ Colby: 23 HR, 85R, 66 RBI, 148 SO, .276 AVG, .361 OBP, 3.6 WAR, .981 Fld%

2013 Toronto Blue Jays’ Colby: 20 HR, 55R, 63 RBI, 133 SO, .275 AVG, .336 OBP, 4.3 WAR, .987 Fld%

His distaste for St. Louis manager Tony La Russa was well publicized, and indicative of Rasmus’ need to be in what he feels is a positive environment to thrive.

He has embraced Toronto as his new home, and his relationship with John Gibbons seems to suit him better. Maybe there is a corellation?

It’s all too often in the sports world that the simple desires of happiness and comfort that are innate to man, are expected to be non-factors to athletes because of their salaries.

Productivity in any workplace is highly contingent on a sense of happiness and job satisfaction. Yes, athletes are paid the big bucks to play out their childhood fantasies, but at what cost?

“I think I was 10, Cory was nine, when my dad said, ‘If y’all want to take this game seriously, I’ll push you and try to get you to the big leagues,’” Rasmus said to the National Post. “We said yes, so from that day on, it was pretty much hell.”

Rasmus would not finish the Baltimore series due to general soreness associated with someone able to hit second-deckers fresh off an oblique injury. Injuries are known to impact salary negotiations, and this will likely have some impact on his 2014 earnings, but should it?

Rasmus hustles, though criticized for it earlier in the year for what some thought an unnecessary slide into second base in a series against the Detroit Tigers which sidelined Omar Infante. Isn’t “Hustle and Heart” what his team’s all about?

I’m going up there ready to hit. If they hit me, that’s part of the game too. Take it, put some ice on it, and go on about my business,” Rasmus told the Toronto Star on the incident.

If Rasmus is here to play ball like says he is, and play it hard at the same time, his attitude and commitment to make a play should fall under some type of baseball intangibles clause that makes him a good teammate.

Keep it simple, that’s what I’m trying to do this year … Keep it light, not get too serious with anything and just be a good teammate,” Rasmus told the Toronto Sun.

I’m not one to put my foot in my mouth and say I’m going to do all this stuff,” he said. “I’m going to go out and play hard and do the best I can for them.”

What’s in store for Rasmus is anyone’s guess, man of mystery Alex Anthopoulos surely knows his centre fielder’s value – but aware that other general managers likely do too

“You know what, I never talk about who we’re going to extend [or] who we’re not going to extend,” Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told MLB.com back in 2012 about a potential contract extension for Rasmus.

 “I’ve always had players I’m highly reluctant to trade, but at the same time, over time, I’ve realized if we have a chance to make the team better I’m going to be open to it.”

Rasmus avoided arbitration with a $4.68 million deal over the off season, and now enters his final year of arbitration eligibility after this season before reaching free agent eligibility in 2015.

This year, only five centre fielders have hit more home runs than Rasmus – Josh Hamilton, Curtis Granderson, Adam Jones, Matt Kemp, and Andrew McCutchen.

He may like to be left alone, but that’s pretty good company.

About this article

By: Nadia Vocaturo
Posted: Sep 16 2013 7:59 pm
Filed under: Baseball Sports