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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Later evaluation of Rasmus trade still holds promise

In a recent Q&A with Rick Hummel of the Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak admitted that the only player he regretted trading was Scott Rolen following the 2007 season.

The primary reason for that move was a fractured relationship between the third baseman and manager Tony La Russa. New GM Mozeliak tried to make the best of a bad situation, executing a challenge trade with Toronto for third baseman Troy Glaus.

While La Russa’s Hall of Fame credentials are unquestioned, one of his rough areas was in his contentious relationships with certain players over the years.

The subject came to mind again the other day as I saw a Cardinals blogger suggesting the 2011 Colby Rasmus trade – also to Toronto, by the way – should be re-evaluated in light of Jon Jay’s current struggles in center field for the Cardinals.

The logic behind my negative response is very simple – flags fly forever. The 2011 World Championship run was significantly aided by the players added in the Rasmus deal. They included starter Edwin Jackson and relievers Octavio Dotel and Marc Rzepczynski.

While none of them are Cardinals today, that isn’t the end of the story. In addition to The Commissioner’s Trophy, the organization still has three prospects in the system as a direct result of those three pitchers leaving St. Louis. The three are third baseman Patrick Wisdom, catcher Steve Bean and shortstop Juan Herrera.

The first two were taken in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft as compensatory picks from the departures of Dotel and Jackson, respectively, as free agents. Last summer, Herrera joined the Cardinals organization in a trade with Cleveland for Scrabble.

Wisdom is the system’s best third base prospect and is starting to heat up with the bat after a quiet first month at Double-A. Still just 20 years of age, Bean is sharing catching duties with high-visibility prospect Carson Kelly at Class-A Peoria. Herrera, a sharp glove man, is Bean’s teammate with the Chiefs and is currently leading the Cardinals system in stolen bases.

In The Cardinal Nation’s just-released top 40 prospect list update covering April (subscriber article), Wisdom (16) and Herrera (26) both placed.

Only time will tell how the three continue to perform, and if one or more even reach the majors, but they all have a chance. In my book, that is just frosting on the cake of a winning trade for the Cardinals.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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12 Responses to “Later evaluation of Rasmus trade still holds promise”

    • blingboy says:

      I previously mentioned that Craig might have a case of contractitus. Suddenly becoming a gazillionairre would mess me up for a while, too.

      There have been examples recently of guys who cashed in and were never the same again. Hopefully, that will not be the case.

      As to Taveras replacing him, there are about 50 Million reasons why that will not happen. If Taveras ends up the right fielder, then Craig will be the first baseman.

      • Brian Walton says:

        I am not buying that unless Craig forgot about the contract last season and it just came to him now. I could see trying that logic for Carpenter, though. At least his deal is relatively fresh.

        • blingboy says:

          ” In 733 plate appearances over his first two full MLB seasons (2011-2012) Craig had 33 homers and slugged .532. But over the past two seasons, over a nearly identical number of plate appearances (729), Craig has 17 homers and has slugged nearly 100 points lower, .433.”

          Bernie mentions Tom Orf as a source in the article, but I don’t know if the numbers above originated with him.

          By way of comparison, Adams is slugging .443 so far this year and everybody is talking about how his power is gone.

          • Brian Walton says:

            Last year at this time, people were fretting about Craig’s lack of power, too. Then he warmed up.

            • JumboShrimp says:

              Craig hardly powered up during the back three quarters of 2013, because he only hit 13 HRs for the entire campaign.
              Craig compensated during 2013 by driving in runs with base hits, so he pulled out a strong year, despite a 40 percent HR drop from the preceding year.
              For Craig to succeed, he has to hit for a good average, because the range of 12 to 16 HRs may be his par for the course. He can succeed, but so could a platoon of Oscar and Craig. Two bats can be better than one.

  1. blingboy says:

    The other side of it is Colby has hit 66 homers and 172 RBIs in 2+ years in Toronto. That compares favorably with the more productive Cardinal hitters over the same period. He will likely have quite a few more productive years.

    I don’t know if the long term benefits of the trade will pan out, but there is no denying it worked out in 2011. Of course, we don’t know what would have happened in 2012, 2013 or future years with that bat in the lineup.

  2. JumboShrimp says:

    Rasmus has averaged over 140Ks per year during 2012 and 2013 for the Jays. No surprise, he tries to pull and slug. The price is a lot of whiffs.
    I would speculate DeWitt became disenchanted with Colby and his Dad. Let the Jays be the ones to give Rasmus millions of dollars. If we like somebody, like Carpenter and Craig, we make them rich. Rasmus did not pay enough respect to the team, so it made sense to unload him. Mo has no regrets, save for having to trade Rolen. Scott was a pro’s pro.

  3. blingboy says:

    On another note, I heard from an old friend that P. J. Walters is getting close to the end of the line with the Royals organization. If so, I wish P. J. well.

  4. JumboShrimp says:

    Big night for Bourjos. A few more and he will be batting cleanup.

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