Free agent market heating up for former Blue Jays’ Colby Rasmus

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With Spring Training firmly in site and the market for available hitters getting thinner by the day, free agent Colby Rasmus has seen his market heat up considerably in the last week. If things continue the way they’ve gone of late, the former Blue Jays outfielder could latch on with a new team in a matter of days.

And the potential suitors should be very familiar to Colby.

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Just last week, we reported that Rasmus had started drawing interest from the Baltimore Orioles, who were also looking at fellow free agent outfielders Ichiro Suzuki and Nori Aoki, as well as trade candidates like the Dodgers’ Andre Ethier. Since that point, Rasmus had a sit down with Baltimore manager Buck Showalter, a meeting designed to ascertain the outfielder’s comfort-ability with the team and for Showalter to get an idea of how Rasmus would fit in the Orioles’ clubhouse.

According to Jon Morosi, Colby Rasmus came away from the meeting with a “very favorable impression” of Buck Showalter and the Orioles staff.

That said, no contract talks are said to have occurred at the meeting and there is no expectation yet if Rasmus will be joining the Orioles. That could perhaps be because Colby Rasmus is also being pursued by another American League East squad looking for a left-handed bat in the outfield, also via Morosi.

Now, there are a lot of “ifs” that need to fall into place for Rasmus to join the Rays, who earlier this winter traded a similar outfield bat in Matt Joyce. Trading Zobrist shouldn’t be all that hard, as suitors would line up at the door to take him off the Rays’ hands. However, the Tampa outfield looks pretty crowded already, with David DeJesus, Desmond Jennings, Steven Souza, and Kevin Kiermaier already in the mix and Brandon Guyer on the outside track.

That said Baltimore remains the most likely landing spot, with the team having outfield openings after the departure of both Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz earlier this winter. That leaves only Adam Jones and Alejandro De Aza as viable starters, although De Aza is like better suited as a back-up. Adding Rasmus would also add some more power to the line-up to help offset the loss of Cruz.

Rasmus remains a good buy-low candidate on a one-year deal. While he struggled mightily in 2014, posting a .225/.287/.448 slash-line with 18 home runs and 40 RBI in just 104 games played, he is just one year removed from what appeared to be a break-out campaign. In that 2013 season, he was worth 4.8 wins according to FanGraphs, while posting a wRC+ of 129. However, buyers are wary of a career strike-out rate of 25.2%, a rate that rose to a staggering 33% in 2014.

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