Rumors have former Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus drawing Orioles interest
Colby Rasmus‘ time with the Toronto Blue Jays is almost assuredly at an end, as the team has seemingly moved on and the end of season handling of Rasmus would make a reunion unlikely. Likewise, the market for the free agent outfielder has been lukewarm at best. However, that may be changing a bit.
According to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, sources are telling him the that Baltimore Orioles have had ongoing dialog with Rasmus as they try to zone in on a left-handed hitting outfielder.
After having lost both Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis as free agents earlier this winter, the Baltimore Orioles would be a logical fit for Rasmus, at least in terms of openings. However, with a Gold Glove center fielder in Adam Jones as the lone holdover in the Baltimore outfield, a signing of Rasmus would entail a position switch for Colby.
According to FanGraphs, Rasmus has spent all but 89.2 innings of his career in the field patrolling center. In fact, he has spent only 43 innings in left field and 46.2 innings in right respectively, and all came during his rookie season in 2009. For those wondering, Ramsus rated at 1.0 UZR/150 in left and 56.7 UZR/150 in right during those brief trials. However, for those who have never seen Rasmus throw a baseball, it is hard to imagine him profiling well in right field with the way his throws tail.
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Other teams that could line up well for Rasmus would be the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers, although there has yet to be a connection between either club and Colby Rasmus at this time.
Colby’s time in Toronto, and prior to that St. Louis, will always be remembered for the promise of stardom that he brought to the field each and ever spring. He was on the cusp of breaking through that ceiling in 2013, when he put together a 4.8 win season for the Blue Jays on the heels of a .276/.338/.501 slash-line, 22 home runs, 66 RBI, and a wRC+ of 129, but failed to build off of that season in 2014. After slumping to a .225/.287/.448 batting line, the Blue Jays benched Rasmus for much of September and seemingly move on.
Overall, Colby Rasmus owns a batting line of .246/.313/.438 with 116 home runs over 6 seasons.
Rasmus brings tantalizing power potential, but contact has always been an issue for him, with Rasmus watching his K% rise yearly since 2011 through 2014 (22.1%, 23.8%, 29.5%, 33%). Matched with the fact that he has only one put up a walk-rate higher than 10% (11.8% – 2009), Rasmus inability to make adjustments has held him back from taking the next step in his development.
That isn’t to say that Colby Rasmus won’t find a way to finally capitalize on that potential. He certainly has the talent to do so, but he needs an environment that can coax that out of him. The positive clubhouse culture in Baltimore under Buck Showalter, or even the one in Tampa Bay for that matter (although that may change with a new manager), could be a good matches for Colby Rasmus and may be the step he needs to move forward.
It’s just a shame it couldn’t happen in Toronto.