Can any truly honest Blue Jays fan out there say that Colby Rasmus wasn’t starting off this season under the gun already?
Rasmus was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays last summer from the St. Louis Cardinals as a part of major three-team swing that send journeyman Corey Patterson, lefty-specialist Marc Rzepczynski, former big arm Octavio Dotel, and innings-eater Edwin Jackson to the eventual World Series champs. However, as a former pro scout once said, “the team that ends up with the best player after the trade, wins.” Colby Rasmus was by far the best player that came out of this trade – and the Toronto Blue Jays got him.
In 2009, Colby Rasmus made his MLB debut with the Cardinals as the centerfielder. Rasmus put his tools on display over the next 2 seasons with a combined .268 batting average, .340 on-base percentage, and .790 on-base plus slugging percentage. This was not a coincidence, and it was certainly not a fluke. Colby was a 5-tool American baseball prospect that with a guaranteed number of at-bats proved that he is a stud, and has the ability to become the horse he was built to be.
With those numbers in mind, Colby went through a process of manager Tony La Russa and the Cardinals organization attempting to alter his approach at the plate. La Russa did not like the amount of movement taking place with Colby’s front leg. This was not the great cause for concern – it was when Rasmus refused to adhere to the advice of hitting coach Mark McGuire or La Russa, instead siding with his high school coach (Mr. Rasmus himself). This rift between the young Rasmus and the Cardinals management, led to Colby being dealt to the Blue Jays in the trade that many major league still consider to be a steal for Canada’s team.
With guaranteed at-bats and the starting CF position cemented for Rasmus this season with the Toronto Blue Jays, Colby will be the first one to let out a big sigh of relief. His humble, quiet, and hard-working demeanor may not seem to fit in with the rebuilding core of the Blue Jays on the surface, but Rasmus is a big piece of this team’s personality. Rasmus has said that this season is going to be about, “going out there and having fun”; and during the difficult parts of the season Rasmus is “going to just play the game he has played since he was a little boy.” This attitude is exactly what the Toronto Blue Jays need, in fact, the rest of professional sports could use more kids having fun instead of megastar egomaniacs throwing away their millions.
This season we have already seen Colby Rasmsus’ stellar range and defensive ability that should put angry fans crying for the trade of Rasmus in the corner for a timeout. Rasmus has shown his slugging potential with the long-ball and the extra base pop. The numbers that Rasmus has produced in 2012 despite hitting at the bottom of a struggling Blue Jays offence, are second only to his 2010 All-Star season with the Cardinals!
My final thought is this: I had the privilege and opportunity to meet Colby Rasmus at the Jays Care Foundation Curve Ball this April, and he is easily the most misunderstood professional athlete in the city of Toronto. He is funny, smart, and completely excited to be a huge part of this true powerhouse baseball team that GM Alex Anthopoulos is building for Toronto. When I asked Colby about his time in Toronto, especially with the criticism and anger that seemed to follow him from St. Louis, he told me not to worry. Colby was quick to say that he is having so much fun with guys like Lawrie, JP, Bautista, and others that he knows it will only be a matter of time before Blue Jays fans really get behind this superhorse. I say the time is now! I encourage the whole Toronto Blue Jays fanbase to get behind this 25-year old outfield machine, and watch him give us his 100% effort every single game. Rasmus is the real deal.
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