The name alone inspires a disparate reaction across Cardinal Nation.
On one side stands the crowd who believes the mercurial 24 year-old talent is in the midst of transitioning his enormous talent into big league production. On the other, a din of despair pining for a trade (or at least a public flogging of his father) and ready to move on from the Rasmus era as soon as humanly possible.
Let’s be clear here- the Cardinals aren’t trading Colby Rasmus.
He’s 24. Locked into a favorable contract for the next 3 years (minimum). And when he puts it together (like Monday night’s game) he’s capable of scoring multiple runs, hitting a home run and making a spectacular catch in center field. The value won’t be there for the Cardinals and he’s going to be on the roster at least until the end of 2011.
UPDATE: Looks like the Cardinals have indeed traded Rasmus to Toronto. LINK HERE
That being said, he’s still the most talked about Cardinal by far. And apart from LaRussa, the most controversial.
Problem is, this is a St. Louis problem. Not a Rasmus problem.
See, St. Louis and Boston are the two towns in Major League Baseball that pick sides better than anyone. They dig in and pick their poison. Players can cause fans agony for years (see: Drew, J.D.) and they always seem to get inserted into every conversation, not matter the topic.
Other towns, like New York, love baseball – but those people are junk yard dogs. Once a few turn on a player, he’s a good as gone. LA and Chicago merely accept their fate and move on. But STL and Boston are a bit more passive aggressive and love to feel the self loathing wash over their baseball souls like the warm sun in summer.
Rasums is 24 years old. About the time where a player gets called up to the Majors. He’s been here for 3 years. Is he streaky? Hell yes the guy is streaky. But unlike a Jon Jay we don’t know where the ceiling is. Maybe he’s a .270/20/80 guy. Maybe he’s a .310/30/120 guy. We just don’t know. But the battle lines have been drawn and sides have been picked.
He’s not making Pujols/Holliday/Berkman money. Those are the guys that need to be carrying the offense. Molina is an All-Star and Theriot is a veteran picked up for his bat. So at the worst he’s the fourth option on the team. And at the best, the sixth. While he’s slumped recently- if Colby Rasmus is the sixth option out of eight position players – you’re in business.
Fans don’t see it that way. They hate his meddling father. They hate his petulant seeming attitude. But, true to Cardinal or Red Sock Nation, he’s not going to get booed or told to his face – he’s going to get Tweeted about and talked about and generally rumored about for an indefinite amount of time. Could be years.
Not usually wont for level-headedness around these parts, I’d encourage you, dear fan, to just shut yer yap about Rasmus. If he’s great or average, he’ll help this team. If he sucks… well, a lot of 24 year old center fielder’s in a pennant race do. And TLR has already shown us that he’ll go to Jon Jay if needed. So really, it’s not a huge deal either way.
The bullpen? That’s a concern.
Rasmus is just the guy we’ve decided to satiate our need for a talking point with.