Colby Rasmus has had a rough go of it since the first of June. After the first two months of the season, he was batting in the high .270s with an OBP in the .370s as well. Rasmus had a bad June with an OPS of .684 and July has been horrible so far. For his nine games in July, Rasmus has a .384 OPS with no walks and only five hits. Somehow word leaked over the All Star Break that the Cardinals were actively shopping him--a fact confirmed by Buster Olney in his post today over at ESPN.com. Olney wondered why the word had leaked. This writer can tell you why. The Cardinals can't stand him.
Oh, they may say something different. But Tony LaRussa has a long history of having a long memory with players he doesn't get along with. There was Scott Rolen and others that fell in that category. Ever since Rasmus and LaRussa had that public tiff and then Pujols chimed in and said perhaps that Rasmus should just play for a different team, it's sure to have been festering. And now, with Rasmus in a slump, there isn't any support for him. There isn't any positive reinforcement believing he'll work himself out of it. Instead there is a leak that the Cardinals want to trade him. For his sake and perhaps the team's sake, let's hope they do.
There are two obvious problems with Rasmus and his statistics since the beginning of June. One is that he stopped getting on base. He was walking regularly in the early part of the season. He had 33 walks by the end of May but only has seven since. The other obvious problem is that his pop ups to the infield are more than double his career average. Just about every other major statistic is nearly identical to his career norms. He swings at nearly the same amount of pitches in and out of the strike zone. His ground ball and fly ball ratios are right in line with his career. His line drive percentage is just slightly off his norm and his strikeout rate is down from his career numbers.
Other than the infield pop ups, could he just be having some bad luck? It certainly appears possible. His BABIP for June was .221. For July, his BABIP to this point is .160! This author imagines that it would get pretty frustrating when nothing is dropping for you.
It also doesn't help that Colby Rasmus is playing out of position like just about every other Cardinal not named Albert Pujols. Schumaker isn't a second baseman. Lance Berkman isn't a right fielder. Ryan Theriot isn't a shortstop. And Colby Rasmus isn't a center fielder. His fielding numbers bear that out. So we have a guy who is slumping and is playing a position he's not very good at. That sounds like a perfectly acceptable reason to want to trade him.
Except that he is still only 24 years old and he was the Cardinals' first round draft choice in 2005. Plus, he only makes $443,000. Add the fact that he was worth a solid $17 million as a player last year and a was a solid offensive player. Even with his struggles this season, he has still been worth $7 million with his play thus far and for all the Cardinals know, his last month and a half of struggle could simply be a case of bad luck with every reason to think he can turn things around and at least produce to his career norms.
There has been a dark cloud over Colby Rasmus in St. Louis for quite some time now. And from everything this Fan has seen, the fan base there has sided with Tony LaRussa and Rasmus is vilified. He's the black sheep of the family. With all those dynamics, the Cardinals should just go ahead and trade him.
This writer believes very highly in Colby Rasmus. Put him in a positive environment where he is supported and he will blossom into the star that his talent projects him to be. Again, he is only 24 years old. He had a fine growing season last year and is going through a slump now. But that doesn't mean that Rasmus is a no-talent loser. For whatever reason and for whoever is at fault, he's not in a positive environment and a change would be best. This writer hopes it happens soon.