Toronto Blue Jays Avoid Arbitration With Colby Rasmus With One-Year Deal

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays roster in place, GM Alex Anthopoulos took care of some housekeeping ahead of Spring Training, signing center fielder Colby Rasmus to a one-year deal that will pay the 26-year old $4.67 million next season.

Rasmus had been eligible for arbitration before the deal was signed, and will have one more year of arbitration eligibility before he can hit the free agent market in 2015.

$4.67 million is essentially small change to pay a major league center fielder, and Rasmus is more than likely to exceed his contract value in performance – he only needs to be worth 1.0 fWAR over the season to do so; that said, he’ll likely have to well exceed the dollar value on his contract in ’13 to retain his status as a major part of the Blue Jays’ future, as they look to be contenders over the next few years.

We’ll have a closer look at Rasmus’ 2012 season at later time, but there’s no other way to put it: even with a slight bounce-back season last year, Rasmus has been arguably the worst center fielder in the league over the last two years, as his 2.2 fWAR is easily the worst of the 24 qualifiers from ’11 to ’12. He should have a reasonably long leash in ’13, but even so, Anthony Gose looms, and the Blue Jays may consider a changing of the guard at center field sooner rather than later if Gose lights up the minor leagues and Rasmus continues to battle inconsistency.

Rasmus has shown flashes of brilliance since he was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals as a disgruntled former top prospect, but has been looking to regain the form that had him looking ready to be breakout star in 2010. He will be given every opportunity to do so in ’13 around an improved lineup; at 26, Rasmus will be entering his prime, and will have his work cut out for him to show the Blue Jays – a team that’s dealt with a fair share of players with unfulfilled talent in recent years – that he didn’t peak in 2010.

The signing of Rasmus leaves the Blue Jays with three more arbitration-eligible players – Emilio Bonifacio, J.A. Happ, and Josh Thole – that they will try to come to an agreement with before arbitration numbers are exchanged on Friday.

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