Tag:Colby Rasmus
Posted on: September 5, 2010 3:05 pm
Edited on: September 5, 2010 4:03 pm

Rasmus not happy in St. Louis

Nothing quite like reputations -- you know, Dusty Baker hates young players and Tony La Russa is a genius.

While the Baker has stuck by young outfielders Jay Bruce and Drew Stubbs through their struggles this season, it's been La Russa that's frustrated one of his young stars.

Colby Rasmus La Russa confirmed Sunday that Colby Rasmus had requested a trade because of La Russa's non-use of the talented outfielder.

"What do you want me to say? Ask Colby. Just ask Colby," La Russa told reporters, including Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch , who initially reported the request . "He can handle it however he wants to handle it. He's capable of explaining himself and what he was thinking at the time."

Rasmus wouldn't say much -- he wouldn't confirm Strauss' earlier report or if he wished to stay with the Cardinals.

"I'm not going to say either way," Rasmus said.

Ask if he was happy in St. Louis, he told FoxSportsMidwest.com's B.J. Raines , "I'd rather not answer that if I don't have to."

Strauss says a source told him Rasmus requested a trade during the team's July 23-25 series in Chicago. Rasmus arrived late to the park due to "travel complications" and was chastised by La Russa, who threatened to option to Triple-A.

La Russa said everything is behind the two: "I talked to him at the time about what were the issues. Last year it was part of growing up. I think he's grown up this year quite a bit. He's on his way."

Still, La Russa's actions say something else. Rasmus his hitting .264/.349/.495 with 19 home runs and 54 RBIs for the offensively-starved Cardinals. However, since the series in Chicago, Rasmus has started in 19 of 34 games (although he did miss more than a week with a strained right calf, so it wasn't all about being in La Russa's doghouse). During that stretch, he's hit .254/.349/.451 with three home runs. He's started only seven games of the Cardinals' recent 6-14 slide -- in that time he's hitting just .095 but has a .345 on-base percentage. Rasmus was on the bench again Saturday, picking up one of the team's six hits in a pinch-hit appearance. He did start on Sunday.

Last week, author Buzz Bissinger -- who wrote a fawning book on La Russa -- wrote that La Russa thinks Rasmus is "lazy." Bissinger, who also tweeted he doesn't speak to La Russa, thinks the Cardinals' manager has "lost his interest in baseball" and many believe he could retire after this season, or at least find another place of employment. Rasmus is one of the few players the Cardinals have developed from their minor league system in the last few years -- and there doesn't appear to be much help on the way -- and with a potential money crunch coming with Albert Pujols' contract coming due plus Matt Holliday's monster deal already on the books, it could be a lot easier to replace the manager than a good, young player.

UPDATE: Pujols was less-than sympathetic to Rasmus' plight. Here's what he said to Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan :

“If he doesn’t want to be here next year, we need to figure out a way to get him out of here and find somebody that wants to be here and play,” Pujols told Yahoo! Sports before Sunday’s game against the Reds. “That’s a reality.

“That’ll show you right there a young player that doesn’t respect what he’s got,” he added. “He needs to find out the talent and ability that he has and pretty much keep his mouth shut and play the game. Let the organization make those decisions, not himself.”


-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Posted on: August 30, 2010 2:45 pm

La Russa-Rasmus fued continues

Colby Rasmus Not that today is "pile on Tony La Russa day ," but...

Really, what is up with the Hall of Fame manager these days?

Rasmus has not started a game since August 15, missing time with a lower leg strain. After missing several days and remaining on the roster, Rasmus finally was cleared to return to action on Sunday, which is quite a while to recuperate from a strain, which may have irritated La Russa during the Cardinals' 5-11 skid that has dropped them to five games behind the Reds for the NL Central Division lead.

Given the 24-year-old has 19 dingers in 403 plate appearances to go along with a .268/.352/.501 mark, one would think La Russa would hurry to get Rasmus back in the lineup, even though Rasmus has been occasionally benched this season for no particular reason. In Rasmus, the Cardinals have a five-tool, young player who could morph into a star, who is already one of the better hitters on the team including being a solid defender.

Yet, La Russa chose to hold him out of the lineup Sunday, saying he wasn't comfortable with Rasmus playing in a game where Rob Drake was the home-plate umpire. This is a ridiculous assertion. There are plenty of players that don't get along with certain umpires, and that rarely impacts their playing time.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes that La Russa and Rasmus have had a fractious relationship, largely due to La Russa's own demands and Rasmus' lack of maturity, of which many young players go through -- Matt Kemp and his own clashes with coaching staff spring to mind.

La Russa said that he believes Jon Jay has a better understanding of how to play the game -- never mind that Jay's talents pale in comparison to Rasmus'. Yes, the Cardinals traded Ryan Ludwick to free up more playing time for Jay, but the trade was also to clear space for Rasmus in addition to Ludwick bring the price to land starter Jake Westbrook.

And yet, Rasmus won't play -- perhaps for a perceived notion by La Russa that the center fielder is lazy, as Buzz Bissinger tweeted Sunday. Bissinger is best known for being the author of Friday Night Lights and wrote a book about La Russa titled Three Nights in August .

Not only did Bissinger tweet that, he mentioned La Russa "has lost interest in baseball. And his team reflects it."

La Russa's contract is up after the season and is in his 32nd year of managing, 15th with the Cardinals. He has an even 4,900 games under his belt heading into play Monday and is 142 wins away from second place on the all-time wins list, with John McGraw in his way. First place is Connie Mack, and La Russa has zero chance of catching Mack's 3,731 victories.

If La Russa wants to chase a milestone, that will require his return to the bench in 2011 in addition to a strong performance by the team. It's doubtful any team but the Cardinals would allow La Russa to tack on one more year, so if he wants to dethrone McGraw, it'll be with the Cardinals ... and with Colby Rasmus, unless Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch is correct that there is a growing feeling that the 2011 Cardinals will have one of La Russa or Rasmus... not both.

If it comes down to that, there shouldn't be any hesitation on St. Louis' part of who to pick. Rasmus has the better long-term value to the franchise, while La Russa is near the end of his career. Even as good as La Russa has been -- and he deserves all the credit in the world for the amazing career he has put together -- there is no denying that time marches on, and Rasmus is only beginning what figures to be his own productive career while La Russa should start drafting his acceptance speech into the Hall.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: July 3, 2010 1:19 am
Edited on: July 3, 2010 2:37 am

Hart deserving of votes in NL All-Star race

Corey Hart Now that the reaction to the latest voting of AL All-Stars is complete, we turn to the NL ...

It's hard to disagree with Albert Pujols at the top of the first base rankings. He's second in the NL in OPS, but not all that far behind Votto and has both the name recognition and defense working for him. But that Votto ranks fifth in voting indicates that not many may be fully appreciating Votto's season. After all, Troy Glaus and his .260/.364/.458 line ranks third.

Votto is at .314/.416/.579 with 19 home runs -- tied with Pujols among NL first basemen -- and has Glaus beat in almost every counting category: triples, runs, RBI, stolen bases, strike outs. The two are tied in doubles with 13 apiece, and Votto is the second-best fielder at first according to UZR/150. Glaus? Dead last. We can't even point to a big market or popular player here, really, as Glaus is in his first season with the Braves after not playing much of 2009 and Votto's more exciting given he's 26 and Glaus is on the wrong side of 30. Interesting.

At second, Chase Utley led the voting which was no surprise, but since he's out for eight weeks with surgery on his thumb, he won't be starting. The logical replacement is in fact, second in the 2B rankings with Martin Prado garnering just over 1.5 million votes. Impressive for a relative unknown, but Prado absolutely deserves the nod -- he's leading the NL in batting average at .333.

Third base has another Phillie, Placido Polando, just barely edging out David Wright. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, Polanco is shelved until late July so Wright will toe the third-base line in the first inning. The voting is close, here though: Polanco leads everyone with just under 1.5 million votes while fifth place belongs to Casey McGehee at one million. It's anyone's game between Polanco, Wright, McGehee and Chipper Jones along with Scott Rolen.

Really, it's down to Wright and Rolen as the deserving candidates. Wright playing for New York will carry him to the finish line, but he's in a virtual dead heat with Rolen. Rolen has flashed more power than Wright on the year but only barely, and Wright holds the same slim edge in UZR/150 fielding.

At shortstop, Jimmy Rollins is less than 500,000 behind leader Hanley Ramirez despite barely playing at all through the voting period. Troy Tulowitzki was a strong choice to start and currently ranks in third place with his long-term injury hampering his progress. If he hadn't gotten hurt, it would have been an interesting race between HanRam and Tulo.

At catcher, Yadier Molina has done absolutely nothing with the bat but is truly gifted with the leather. He has 1.6 million votes, edging out Brian McCann -- who leads all qualified catchers in OPS -- with ageless Ivan Rodriguez nipping at McCann's heels with 1.3 million votes. Carlos Ruiz is also over the million barrier, but is injured. Rod Barajas rounds out the voting.

Really, at catcher, it comes down to what you think is the most important. Offense or defense. It's a debate that has skewed to defense in team structure lately, but that was coming off an offensive-infested era.

In the outfield, Ryan Braun, Jason Heyward and Andre Ethier each have over two million votes apiece, and all are deserving candidates. Also extremely deserving are Jayson Werth (4th in voting), Corey Hart (unranked), Josh Willingham (unranked) and Colby Rasmus (14th). Heyward will miss the game with an injury -- even if he comes off the disabled list in time, as he says -- so Werth will probably slide into Heyward's spot.

Rasmus leads all outfielders in OPS, but was neither a minor-league phenom or someone who made waves in his rookie year last year, so it makes sense that his name isn't quite well-known yet. But it will be.

It's true that many feel Corey Hart (pictured) is a flash in the pan, but is that really a reason not to vote for him? His production is in the bank and irrevocable, and he was one of the league's best hitters. To have him unranked is a disservice, and here's hoping he at least shows up in the final vote.

-- Evan Brunell

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