The Curious Case of Colby Rasmus

Coby Rasmus with his bat & Rays batting helmet.

The rabbit hole that is the 2018 Orioles offseason got deeper this week, as the Orioles locked up Colby Rasmus to a one-year, $3 million minor-league deal (with up to $5million with incentives). Dan Duquette, in an interview with Roch Kubatko, stated about Rasmus, “Colby Rasmus is a proven veteran player in the AL East who is a versatile outfielder with power and speed to make a meaningful contribution to the 2018 team.”

I have only one issue with that comment, and I think Terry from Happy Gilmore can best sum up my feelings:

Seriously though, signing Rasmus is the ultimate head-scratcher, and I don’t find any of the words Duquette used to describe him particularly true. In his last full season as an everyday player (2012), he batted .223 with 149 strikeouts. “Oh well maybe he’s a high OBP guy,” you may say… nope. Career OBP of .311.

“Yeah, but he’s a defensive wizard.” Wrong again. Let’s look at Rasmus’ numbers vs. another player that was linked to the Orioles, Jarrod Dyson, who signed a two-year/$7.5 million deal with the Diamondbacks (so yes, virtually same cost as Rasmus). In his career, Colby has a UZR of 16.7 vs. Dyson with 68.8! How about DRS? Rasmus, a career number of 38 vs. Dyson’s 75.

Perhaps stolen bases is an area where Rasmus will be impactful? No, no, no. Rasmus stole 12 bases once, in 2010. Has 35 for his career (not very impressive for a guy with “speed”) Since 2012 Dyson has swiped no fewer than 26 bags, and has 204 for his career.

The Orioles were in the market for a left handed hitting corner outfielder that could also bat atop the lineup. Despite options such as Dyson and Jon Jay, they opted for Rasmus.

It’s truly nonsensical. This guy was mulling retirement, and doesn’t hit for average, high OBP, play stellar defense or steal bases. Oh, and also strikes out a lot. Now, he will compete with Alex Presley and Joey Rickard for a spot on the roster. And yes, I realize it was a minor league deal, but you can take it to the bank that he’s going to be running out on that orange carpet on March 29th.

For what? Why? The 2018 Baltimore Orioles are some $30 million under last year’s payroll, with the obvious financial surplus to have added Dyson or Jay, plus a pitcher like Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn and still be under last year’s number! Instead we get Colby Rasmus and Chris Tillman.

Buckle up Birdland!

2 Cheers on “The Curious Case of Colby Rasmus

  1. avatarDave Tilley on said:

    Very well written, such a waste of time. Why not sign someone who might help..Moustakas, Cargo, not a guy who thinks he might want to play again..

  2. avatarBeef on said:

    Colby Rasmus is a smart signing — low risk, high reward. Despite what you purport, it’s undeniable that, “Colby Rasmus is a proven veteran player in the AL East who is a versatile outfielder with power and speed.” The cherry-picked stats provided are agenda-driven and misrepresent Rasmus’ superiority to Dyson in every facet except for speed. Rasmus’ career WAR — which greatly overvalues stolen bases — is 19.5 to Dyson’s 15.4. And, newsflash!, the Orioles as a team don’t steal bases so nobody could expect Dyson to steal 30 bases as an Oriole, realistically. Rasmus’ career OPS+ is 103 to Dyson’s miserably low 85. In season’s where the players tallied 200+ plate appearances, Dyson has never slugged .390 or better while Rasmus has done so in seven of eight years. Four times, Rasmus has hit more than 20 home runs in a season; Dyson has hit 12 homers in his entire career. A minor league, one year deal for a four-tool player is much better for this particular team than would be a two-year major-league deal committing $7.5MM to an aging, 33 year old one-tool speedster.

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