Monday 29 July 2013

Trading Colby Rasmus

Colby Rasmus has quietly been the Jays' most valuable player this year, according to both Fangraphs and Baseball-reference.  Positional value helps that a lot, as does his defense, which isn't terribly reliable in the small samples of a single season (though both Fangraphs and B-ref agree that he's been worth somewhere around a win so far with his defense alone), but the bulk of that is his offensive value; Rasmus has a 125 wRC+, which puts him in the same category as Adam Jones, and ahead of guys like Dexter Fowler, Jacoby Ellsbury and Austin Jackson.

At the start of the year, we were kind of barking at Rasmus for all the strikeouts, but here we are, a few months later, and suddenly, Rasmus is one of the top CF's in the game.  All that talent, all those tools, all that potential, we are finally seeing the results.

So why trade him?

Rasmus is a year away from free agency, and is going to get paid.  Pretty sure Stoeten at DJF already tackled this one, but given his age and production, both offensively and defensively, Rasmus is probably in line for a five-year deal in the neighbourhood of $10-$15MM per, assuming he doesn't entirely fuck it up next year.  BJ Upton got 5-$75 and Adam Jones got 5-$85 afterall.  Rasmus' production this season is almost a mirror image of Jones, and is certainly comparable to what Upton has done over the course of his career until he got AIDS in Atlanta this year.  There's a lot of value there.

Beyond that, there's not much out there for free agents in 2015 as far as CF's go.  Especially if you consider Emilio Bonifacio as a CF.

Rasmus is rocking a nice tidy .359 babip on the season, compared to a .297 career mark.  His walks are down and his strikeouts are up.  He's been an average defender in CF over the course of his career.

This isn't to say that Rasmus isn't a good, useful player, because he's probably above average as far as CF's go.  I'd guess that a .300 wOBA over a full season is pretty average (i.e. 2 WAR pending defense and baserunning) for a CF, and Rasmus, even with babip regressed, walks often enough and has enough power that he should be good to go for that moving forward.

He's good, I just don't think he's this good.  The production that he's offered this year doesn't seem to be sustainable, and his value will probably never be higher.  Anthony Gose is waiting in the wings, and will offer more than enough value with his defense to offset the terror that is his bat.

Just spitballing here, but Texas and Atlanta seem like two pretty good locations for Rasmus.  BJ Upton is beyond terrible now (and is hurt), and Lance Berkman is out for the year.  Texas could certainly shift Rasmus in to the outfield and move Nelson Cruz to DH.

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