How the Jays collared Rasmus
By MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency
TORONTO - What Alex Anthopoulos wants, Anthopoulos gets.
And now the Blue Jays’ 34-year-old general manager can add centre fielder Colby Rasmus to the list that also contains the names of Brett Lawrie, Brandon Morrow and Yunel Escobar.
The latter three were all Anthopoulos acquisitions, all young players who are controllable with great upside. They are thought to be key pieces of the Blue Jays puzzle and now a fourth and much needed centre fielder has been added.
Tuesday night and Wednesday morning and afternoon were hairy and frantic ones for Anthopoulos, who engineered the three-way trade that sent six players the Blue Jays way and six players packing, including starting pitcher Edwin Jackson who was acquired then traded again. But for the Blue Jays GM it was all about Rasmus and Rasmus alone.
The other players in the deal were of absolutely no concern, they were simply the parts that needed to be moved and acquired to land the grand prize — Rasmus.
In the end the deal boiled down to two players that the Jays deemed to be of worth — Zach Stewart and Marc Rzepczynski — for Rasmus.
It’s a deal that any GM would make and for Anthopoulos it took a lot of dogged determination and digging around.
“We’ve done a lot of homework on the player,” Anthopoulos said. “He’s a great kid, obviously tremendously talented. He fits so well for what we’re trying to do. He’s another middle-of-the-diamond player who is controllable for a while. He’s 24. He’s a two-way dynamic that we look for. He can run, he can throw, he’s a five-tool talent. We think he’s going to fit in great with his teammates here.
‘He’s a player that has a chance to be part of this core, another core player and they’re hard to have.”
Anthopoulos had been wearing out Cardinals GM John Mozeliak with enquiries about Rasmus since last off-season and although Mozeliak kept saying ‘No’, Anthopoulos never stopped trying to land him.
“We always like the player. He was a highly-touted prospect, a first-round draft pick,” Anthopoulos said. “I always asked about him. Any time you talk to St. Louis he’s one of the guys you ask about because he fits. I’d say the off-season was probably when I tried the hardest to get him and they wouldn’t part with him. It was a non-starter.”
To entice Mozeliak, Anthopoulos needed to add a veteran starter to the deal and in order to do that he needed to make a deal with Kenny Williams of the White Sox to acquire Edwin Jackson.
In talking to the Cardinals he found they were looking for a starter and bullpen help.
“I knew that we had to do something somewhat compelling — knowing the players that they liked to try to get them to move and be open-minded to it,” Anthopoulos said. “So I said what if I can get you Jackson, Rzepczynski, Dotel and so on, that’s when they finally said: ‘That’s something we’d really have to consider. That was late afternoon (Tuesday), before the game.”
So, first he completed the deal with the White Sox that sent veteran reliever Jason Frasor and top starting prospect Zach Stewart to the White Sox for Jackson and infielder Mark Teahen.
With Jackson in hand, Anthopoulos could then flip him along with relievers Octavio Dotel and Marc Rzepczynski and outfielder Corey Patterson to St. Louis for Rasmus, veteran relievers Brian Tallet and Trever Miller and right-hander P.J. Walters.
“It’s a good baseball trade that was made today and all teams got what they wanted,” Anthopoulos said. “I hope it works out for all of us.”
The Blue Jays especially.
Meet the new Jays
Colby Rasmus, CF, Bats Left
Rasmus, 24, is a former first-round pick (28th player taken in 2005) and is in his third season with the Cardinals. This season in 94 games he is hitting .246 with 14 doubles, 11 home runs and 40 RBIs. Following a hot start, Rasmus hit only .182 (33-for-181) during a 54-game stretch from May 13 to July 23. Rasmus is average defensively which is an upgrade for the Jays. He is earning $443,000 this season and is arbitration eligible in 2012.
Trever Miller, LHP
Miller returns to the Jays following an eight-year absence. He was a lefty specialist with the Jays in 2003. A 38-year-old veteran, Miller is 0-1 with one save in 38 appearances this season with a 4.02 ERA. He will assume the role vacated by the trading of Marc Rzepczynski and will be used in the late innings.
Brian Tallet, LHP
Tallet, 33, is another reliever the Jays are acquiring on the rebound. A member of the Jays from 2006-2010, Tallet signed as a free agent with the Cardinals. He has been disabled twice this season (broken left hand and rib cage strain) and as a result has appeared in just 18 games. He will be used in long relief.
Mark Teahen, 3B, OF, 1B, Bats Left
A Canadian, Teahen is a super utility player that can fill a variety of roles. In 51 games this season he is hitting .203 (24-for-118) with three doubles, three homers and 11 RBIs. Teahen, 29, does not come cheap and was a salary dump by the White Sox. He earns $4,750,000 this season and will receive a guaranteed $5,500,000 in 2012.
P.J. Walters, RHP
Walters, 26, is a throw-in guy and has made just four relief appearances for the Cards this season. He will report to the Jays but it is not clear how long he will remain with the major league club. He spent the bulk of the season at triple-A Memphis.
|Outfielder Colby Rasmus tracks down a fly ball a week before being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays. (Getty Images)