May 31, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus (28) after a two-run home run during the second inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Is Blue Jays Colby Rasmus Worth Adam Jones Money?


During his most recent mailbag at BlueJays.com, Gregor Chisholm was posed a question in regards to where the Toronto Blue Jays stand on extending Colby Rasmus. In responding, Chisholm explained the Blue Jays are in a wait and see mode, preferring to see what kind of start Colby gets off to and hoping to see a more consistent performance before offering him a big payday.

However, there was one sentence that caught be off guard and warranted a deeper look.

If he’s able to stay healthy and consistently perform, the contract demands are only going to increase and certainly could eclipse the six-year, $85.5 million contract that Adam Jones signed with Baltimore midway through the 2012 season.

At the time of his signing, Jones was in the midst of a season in which he slashed .287/.334/.505 with a career-high 34 home runs, 103 runs scored, and 82 RBI. Jones would place sixth in the MVP balloting, while also winning his second gold glove and making a second All-Star appearance. He would follow that up with a .285/.318/.811 year in 2013, also with an All-Star nod and a 13th place finish in the MVP balloting. Jones also had three solid baseline years prior to signing his deal, so the Baltimore Orioles knew exactly what to expect from him.

Year Age Tm Lg G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BA OBP SLG OPS
2009 23 BAL AL 119 519 83 131 22 3 19 70 10 .277 .335 .457 .792
2010 24 BAL AL 149 621 76 165 25 5 19 69 7 .284 .325 .442 .767
2011 25 BAL AL 151 618 68 159 26 2 25 83 12 .280 .319 .466 .785
2012 26 BAL AL 162 697 103 186 39 3 32 82 16 .287 .334 .505 .839
2013 27 BAL AL 160 689 100 186 35 1 33 108 14 .285 .318 .493 .811
8 Yrs 946 3805 513 988 174 22 140 481 74 .279 .322 .460 .781
162 Game Avg. 162 652 88 169 30 4 24 82 13 .279 .322 .460 .781
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/3/2014.

Therein will lie the challenge for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Jones and Rasmus are about a year apart in age, so using Jones as a model isn’t a bad choice. However, the consistency of Adam Jones, prior to his contract, is what the Blue Jays are looking to see from Colby Rasmus prior to committing to him long-term. Colby stepped up in a big way in 2013, prior to his injury, but he’s been a marvel of inconsistency throughout his career.

Year G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BA OBP SLG OPS
2009 147 520 72 119 22 2 16 52 3 .251 .307 .407 .714
2010 144 534 85 128 28 3 23 66 12 .276 .361 .498 .859
2011 129 526 75 106 24 6 14 53 5 .225 .298 .391 .688
2011 94 386 61 83 14 6 11 40 5 .246 .332 .420 .753
2011 35 140 14 23 10 0 3 13 0 .173 .201 .316 .517
2012 151 625 75 126 21 5 23 75 4 .223 .289 .400 .689
2013 118 458 57 115 26 1 22 66 0 .276 .338 .501 .840
5 Yrs 689 2663 364 594 121 17 98 312 24 .248 .317 .436 .753
162 Game Avg. 162 626 86 140 28 4 23 73 6 .248 .317 .436 .753
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/3/2014.

But then again, maybe there is more to look at here than shear offensive numbers.

Adam Jones gets a lot of publicity of his gold glove work in center field, but if you ask any self-respecting authority on defense, Jones is consistently overrated in that regard, mostly due to the 66 outfield assists that he’s put up over his career. However, if you dig deeper, Jones is rated at a -14 Defensive Runs Saved by the Fielding Bible and sports a career UZR of -26.2.

On the other hand, Colby Rasmus has been consistently underrated for his defense. While he doesn’t put up the flashy assist numbers that Jones does, having accumulated only 16 in his career, Rasmus outpaces his drastically in both DRS (15) and UZR (7.4).

So, using FanGraphs nifty value tool, we see a slight shift in overall value for both gentlemen. Despite playing nearly 2 seasons more than Rasmus, Jones has been worth only 3.8 wins than Colby for their careers. Given Colby’s outstanding 2013 season, FanGraphs translates that value as Rasmus having been worth $59.1 million over his career, whereas Jones (with his extra time) has been worth $76.5 million. That lends some creedance to Chisholm’s thoughts that Rasmus may actually surpass Jones’ deal, especially given the shift in the market and the fact that Rasmus will be the best true center fielder, if not the best available outfielder period, when he hits the market next season.

That all said, the Blue Jays run a risk in playing a wait and see approach. They could cost themselves money in the long-run but letting Colby get closer to free agency. But things always feel better when you place your money on a sure bet, and there is no doubt that Alex Anthopoulos wants to hedge his.

So Blue Jays fans, do you sign Colby Rasmus now or do you play the game and see what happens?

Tags: Colby Rasmus Featured Popular Toronto Blue Jays

  • Andrew van Laar

    I would NEVER at this point give Rasmus the money Jones is making. The only way I would be paying that much for that term is if he has a full season under his belt with the same numbers as last year and with more consistancy through the year. He is one of the most streaky hitters I have ever seen where one month he will be just on fire and the next he will do jack all.

    In April June and August he was not very good at all at the plate. In May July and September pitchers couldn’t touch him.

    I don’t know… there are just too many red flags with him. I wouldn’t sign him to anything like Jones’ contract until at least he proves himself through this season.

  • Ewan Brocklehurst

    Sign him NOW!

  • Jack Stevenson

    Never been a Rasmus Fan. If he had played the entire year, no doubt he would have set
    a Jays SO record. Several of his throws from CF were absolutely pathetic.( Michael
    Saunders
    of the M’s gunned down a guy at the plate with a line drive throw).
    Rasmus won’t steal bases. His slumps are deep and drag the team down.
    IMO he is moody and from what I gather from his
    comments, unlikely to take advice. Time to trade him now and get the most value.
    I think extending will be a big mistake.

    • TBJFAN

      From what I see, Rasmus isn’t really moody so much as he introverted.

      He might be feel uncomfortable around the media, unless it’s someone he actually knows.

      Some of what he says can be misconstrued or misunderstood.

      I would not object to trading Rasmus on the basis of ‘selling-high’, but the problem becomes, who replace him at CF? (and do not say Anthony Gose)

      • Andrew van Laar

        Anthony Gose. Why not? Everyone complains about Gose SOs but do you really think he will SO more than Colby? No way. And what he doesn’t have in power he makes up for in speed (which this team sadly lacks right now). Defensively I think they look about the same in the field. Colby gets better reads but Gose has blazing speed to make up for any misreads plus his arm is better. I would take Gose over Rasmus at $450,000 or so a year over Rasmus at $15,000,000 a year if he is indeed going to command Jones type money.

        • TBJFAN

          Defensively, I can agree that Anthony Gose is similar to Colby Rasmus.
          .
          Offensively, though, there is a huge gap. You can’t just look at the K% rate and conclude your analysis.
          .
          The reality is that Anthony Gose projects to be very similar to Rajai Davis, who was very unspectacular. Colby is one of the better offensive CF when he develops some consistency (which is his biggest weakness). Either way, Colby is way better than Gose, when it comes to the bat.
          .
          Also you assume that I am in favour of extending Rasmus to a Adam Jones type-of-deal. That is not true.
          .
          I am in favour of keeping Colby for 2014, and depending on the situation either:
          1. sell at mid-season
          2. extend a QO after the 2014 season
          3. re-sign as a free agent OR extend mid-season
          .
          It’s flexible. You can’t assume it to be set in stone until it actually happens.

          • Andrew van Laar

            I also included the speed factor in my comparison. Remember how almost every single time Rajai got on base with no one on second, all hell would break loose? Speed is a complete game changer. Of course Rasmus is better offensively because of his power, but this is the first year since his 2010 year that he has hit for any average whatsoever and his OBP doesn’t make up for the contact issues he has because it really isn’t spectacular. Also, Rasmus is incredibly streaky. Look at his monthly break downs. I’d want some consistency if I am paying big bucks to a guy like him.

            I do like your analysis of what to do with him though. I think mid season should be decisions time on Colby.

  • Jason Kerr

    I think the idea when they brought Rasmus in was that he’d follow the same line as Bautista under Cito Gaston and they would be able to kind of ‘break’ of his previous line of thought and help him develop into a team player. I am not saying he’s not a team player or that Bautista is or anything a long those lines. I just think that Rasmus believes his Father to be the end all of knowledge on his game instead of taking small hints. Rasmus didn’t flourish the way I think they were hoping under Gaston and are now waiting to see what happens with Gose and then offer extension.

    Just my thoughts. Not sure if I’m off the ball or not.

  • Robert Murawsky

    I like Rasmussen, ever since he joined the team, I rooted for him, but hold on to the carrot and make him work for it. It is the only way you to give anyone an accentive.

  • RyanMueller

    Comparing Rasmus with Jones is not a fair comparison. As you mentioned, Jones is far more consistent then Rasmus. Jones is a 5-tool player where Rasmus might be a 2-tool player…maybe 3-tool. He doesn’t run and can’t hit for average. He is a guy that hit for power and play solid fielder. I really hope that he doesn’t get Adam Jones money.

  • JaysHopeful

    When I look at Rasmus, I see a pretty young guy with CRAZY raw power from the left side, great speed on the base-path (though no base-stealing ability), incredible range in the OF but without the arm for assists. Yes, he strikes out a lot. Yes, he may be a bit of a head-case and therefore a number 5 or 6 hitter.

    BUT you have a guy who plays hard and pretty oldschool (see him sliding into second hard EVERY time, and leaving his feet to field the ball EVERY time). You could have signed him to a long term deal this year at (probably) 10 mil a year over 5 years, and had CF and your #6 bat taken care of for the next 5 years. When the contract ends and his speed dwindles move him to LF for the next contract, eventually in 10 years you may have a lefty DH who will still have power.

    I see Rasmus as a long term investment, who will never be Adam Jones or Carlos Beltran. But he will be a 20+ HR, 70+ RBI guy, who is like a golden retriever in the OF. His arm’s not great, he can be streaky, and he strikes out a lot, but these things make him cheap. Having Colby long-term at a cheaper price allows for greater money to be spent on other areas like PITCHING and INFIELDERS.

    I wouldn’t pay 15 to 20 mil a year for Colby, but for 10 mil (even 12 mil) he could be a really great deal. But if he takes off this year, then he may be eligible for a Jacoby Ellsbury or (best case scenario) and Adam Jones type contract, and the Jays get nothing for their risks and efforts. Free Agency is a harsh mistress.

    Maybe locking down what you have now at a reasonable price will free up an extra 5 to 10 mil a year to help sign a really great starter or even a great second baseman. A bird in hand could mean spending more on two in the bush. (Sorry for that bad joke)

  • andyimans

    I expect a professional writer to use a dictionary when he doesn’t know how to spell a word (it should be “sheer” not “shear”.

  • SM

    I’ll sign him in a heartbeat! The main reason I say this is because Rasmus seems to be just a guy looking to enjoy himself while playing the game he loves. He’s said in the past he doesn’t care about the money. He seems to enjoy Toronto where – for good or for worse – he’s allowed to be himself. A relaxed player who’s not ultimately too greedy who just wants to play the game is a very rare commodity. Plus his numbers have been on the rise.

  • JT

    Jones’ contract is not a good comparable. When he signed his contract, I believe he still had 2 arbitration years left while Rasmus is a free agent. There’s a massive difference in $ right there already. If Rasmus puts up similar numbers this year than last, he will get Jason Werth money (7yr $126mil) as a free agent.

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