The Toronto Blue Jays are reportedly shopping around center fielder Colby Rasmus at the MLB Winter Meetings in Orlando, FL. The Toronto Sun’s Bob Elliott reported late Tuesday evening that Rasmus has indeed been offered to at least two teams in exchange for starting pitching. Help on the mound is exactly what the Blue Jays need, but getting rid of Rasmus would create a huge hole in their outfield and they would find it very hard to recover at the position.
Rasmus is coming off a solid end to what was at times a frustrating season for the center fielder. When he returned from injury in early September, he started to show signs that he still very much had the ability to drive the ball to right field more often than not, right before he got hit in the face by a ball while he was warming up before a game against the Boston Red Sox late in the season.
Along with Rasmus’ renewed home run power to right field is the stellar defense that he provides in the deepest part of the ballpark game in and game out. The Blue Jays don’t have a deep enough outfield to declare Rasmus expendable.
The projected starting outfield for the Blue Jays in 2014 consists of Rasmus in center, Jose Bautista in right and Melky Cabrera in left. Both Bautista and Cabrera had season-ending injuries in 2013 and are a crapshoot in regards to their health and whether or not they can play and contribute for 140-plus games. If Rasmus is sent packing, that leaves the speedy Anthony Gose, Moises Sierra and Kevin Pillar to pick up the slack.
Unfortunately, that cast of outfielders couldn’t possibly make up for getting rid of a player like Rasmus while depending on the questionable good heath of Bautista and Cabrera.
The only way a trade involving Rasmus would make sense is if it also involves a top pitching prospect in Aaron Sanchez or Marcus Stroman, and the Blue Jays get a great major league-ready starting pitcher and another outfielder with just as much pop as Rasmus. The Blue Jays are a home run-hitting team, and given the way their pitching rotation struggled in 2013 and may continue to do so in 2014, they need as much run support as they can possibly get.
Wednesday will be an interesting day as the Winter Meetings will continue to progress and the Blue Jays will finally look to be active. If they do indeed choose to strengthen their starting rotation via trade, they should leave Rasmus out of it. He is a valuable piece to an outfield that could be injury-ridden within weeks. As far as I’m concerned, the Blue Jays should look elsewhere on their roster when trying to find trade bait.