Colby Rasmus And Daddy Issues

All Star Game, Draft, Fantasy/Roto, Games, Management, Media, MLB Trade Deadline, Players, Trade Rumors

During the Mets series against the Cardinals last week the broadcasters Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen were discussing Colby Rasmus, his father’s perceived interference and his relations with the club. To paraphrase Hernandez—whose own father was heavily involved with his career from beginning to end—it was basically, “my dad’s involved; my dad’s gonna be involved; deal with it”.

The Cardinals are apparently listening to offers for Rasmus. It’s largely irrelevant whether his father Tony’s interference in Colby’s career is a major part of that; that they feel trading him is their best possible bet to improve immediately; or that they simply don’t feel he’s as good as they thought he was when he was drafted.

The perception is that it’s because of his dad.

Teams are aware of a parent’s involvement when they draft him. Sometimes it works as it has with Tim Lincecum; other times it doesn’t with Eric Lindros and Gregg Jefferies.

Because Lincecum has been so tremendous, it’s somehow okay that his father set such ironclad decrees as to his the handling of his son. I’ve always been curious as to what Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti says to Lincecum on a trip to the mound when the pitcher is struggling. Do they talk about the weather? Lincecum’s shampoo of choice for his long, lustrous hair?

The Giants allowed Lincecum to be separate from the rest of the group because he did well and they had a lot of money invested in him. If he was bad in the minors or was in danger of becoming a bust, how quickly would they have started to tweak his perfectly honed mechanics from which he was never supposed to deviate?

Rasmus has been up-and-down in his brief big league career; manager Tony LaRussa appears to have had enough of him; Albert Pujols publicly called out the youngster a year ago. He seems isolated and worn down by the public spitting contest between his stage-father and the team.

But the Cardinals had to have known all this when they drafted him. If he was hitting as he did earlier in the year, it wouldn’t be an issue; but he’s slumping, so it’s a problem.

Like Hernandez said, the dad’s involved—deal with it.

And the Cardinals may deal with it by dealing Rasmus. Then someone else will have to contend with his dad. They too will know what they’re walking into and accept it as a matter of course for getting the young talent of Colby Rasmus. Just like the Giants did with Lincecum and the Cardinals should have—and presumably did—with Rasmus.


B.J. Upton Runs On The Rumor Treadmill, Jeff Niemann Might Be The One Traded

Draft, Fantasy/Roto, Free Agents, Games, Management, Media, MLB Trade Deadline, Players, Trade Rumors

It’s very strange how the Washington Nationals are in the middle of every trade rumor, but never seem to make any trades. They wait until the winter and make stupid free agent signings. (See Jayson Werth.)

The latest object of their pursuits—who won’t be traded to the Nats—is B.J. Upton.

The enigmatic Upton has been on and off the trade block (or part of stories suggesting that he’s on the trade block—true or not—forever). In part because of his on-again, off-again success and attitude; a desire to finally get a long-term contract and be paid like his brother Justin Upton has with the Diamondbacks; has, at various points, had management and teammates wanting to strangle him; and that he’s a free agent after the end of the 2012 season, Upton is a frequent subject of rumors.

With the premium the Rays place on defense and that they’re still in the playoff race, I don’t expect them to trade Upton.

The same can’t be said about their pitchers. More talk has centered around James Shields, but the pitcher I see being moved is Jeff Niemann.

Shields has been excellent this year and is signed through 2014—there’s no real reason to trade him unless they’re blown away by an offer; given Shields’s durability, there’s little risk in hanging onto him and waiting until the winter to make a trade.

With Niemann, he’s had back problems; he’s arbitration-eligible after the season; he’s benefited greatly from the Rays magnificent defense; and he’s not particularly good.

A workmanlike mid-rotation starter is useful enough, but the Rays could replace him relatively easily and his status as a former 1st round draft pick and other clubs not taking the reality of his “success” into account could yield a decent return for a pitcher they’re likely to eventually trade anyway.

Why not do it now when teams are starting to panic?

The Rays aren’t going to give up on the season now; I don’t think they’re trading Upton or Shields; but Niemann? He’s a name to watch as the deadline approaches because it makes perfect sense to get something for him. Now.


Montero Losing His Luster Is A Matter Of Perception

Draft, Fantasy/Roto, Management, Media, MLB Trade Deadline, Players, Trade Rumors

Or delusion.

There’s a floating concept that Yankees catching prospect Jesus Montero has become the epitome of the “yeah, we’ll take him, but what else you got?” when he’s mentioned as the centerpiece of any deal for an established player.

“They’re too willing to trade him.”

“He’s not a big league-caliber catcher.”

“He’s got an attitude problem.”

“The Yankees future catcher is Austin Romine, not Montero.”

Blah, blah, blah.

Perception is not reality. The reporters and executives frame the story as they prefer; while they may be true, they’re not often fair or in full context.

The reality with Montero is that he’s a 21-year-old catcher; he’s shown power and patience at every level; he doesn’t strike out a lot; and, based on the numbers, there’s every indication that he’s going to be able to translate those skills to the big leagues.

The idea that he’s not ready to catch in the majors has validity—either he’s ready or he’s not—but that doesn’t automatically mean he’s going to need to be permanently shifted from behind the plate to a corner position. Buster Posey wasn’t deemed ready to catch in the big leagues until mid-season 2010 because of the importance the Giants placed on handling their pitchers; once he was considered “ready”, he was excellent. If Montero can sit behind the plate and catch the ball while not embarrassing himself with his throwing, he can catch in the big leagues.

He’ll learn.

The attitude can be straightened out if it in fact does exist. He’s 21-years-old; 21-year-olds with the maturity of a Troy Tulowitzki, Derek Jeter or Evan Longoria aren’t as easy to find as it’s made out to be.

Romine might be the better choice for a long-term big league career behind the plate, but Montero is more advanced at the plate. Bear in mind that the Yankees were briefly enamored with Francisco Cervelli—Cervelli doesn’t even belong in the big leagues.

Teams have been reluctant to accept Montero as the main component of a trade because of these beliefs. The preference is for the Yankees young pitchers Manny Banuelos and/or Dellin Betances. But totally disregarding a package starting with Montero appears to be a mistake. Unless there are serious off-field issues we don’t know about, he has great value. He’s going to hit in the majors and a catcher who can function at a bare minimum defensively and hit is hard to come by.


Teams Are Asking About Jimenez And Getting An Answer

All Star Game, Draft, Free Agents, Games, Hot Stove, Management, Media, Players, Spring Training, Trade Rumors

After the Rockies’ request for the Yankees entire farm system, it’s highly likely that Randy Levine needed an adult diaper; Hank Steinbrenner smoked an entire pack of cigarettes at once; and Hal Steinbrenner’s hair moved.

Ubaldo Jimenez isn’t necessarily “available” as Carlos Beltran is “available”, but you can get Jimenez if you ante up the prospects; and judging by the Rockies reported asking price from the Yankees, Jimenez is going to be highly expensive and a team would be stupid to give in immediately to those demands.

In case you missed it, Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd asked for: Jesus Montero, Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos and Ivan Nova.

One would assume that O’Dowd set this bar as a starting point for negotiations and is aware that his Yankees counterpart Brian Cashman isn’t going to surrender his whole minor league system for Jimenez.

Jimenez is very good, but has struggled this year. I tend to think that his bad start and subsequent inconsistent results are directly correlated to the cut on his thumb that led to him beginning the season on the disabled list.

There’s a lot to like about Jimenez. He’s durable, gutty and very good; he’s signed through 2014 at a super cheap rate. You’re not going to get a pitcher of his caliber—who’s signed—when he’s pitching well and his team is in contention. The Rockies aren’t exactly in contention for a normal team, but with their history of ridiculous hot streaks to close out seasons, they’re well within striking distance to make a run.

Obviously O’Dowd knows he’s not getting that bounty for Jimenez—if the Yankees submitted that kind of offer, it would get Felix Hernandez from the Mariners. That demand is so insane that after the season, if the Yankees put that package on the table for Tim Lincecum, the Giants would be foolish not to listen.

So that’s not happening.

But the logic of suggesting teams ask about Jimenez (as I did as far back as last December on my old Blogspot site) is the same on both ends. If teams ask about a player who could be considered untouchable, his team has a right to ask for the world to get him. Montero, Betances, Banuelos and Nova would give the Rockies three cheap starting pitchers, two of whom have All Star potential and would be in better developmental hands with the Rockies than they currently are with the Yankees.

Forget it.

But it’s a starting point.

To tie the Jimenez trade talks into current events, when News Corp. made a bid for the Wall Street Journal, the Bancroft family’s decision to simply listen to the offer made the paper available…for the right price.

Eventually it was sold.

Jimenez is available…for the right price.

Eventually he’ll be traded.

But unless O’Dowd comes off of that ludicrous request from the Yankees or some other team acquiesces to his extraction of every single one of their top prospects, Jimenez is going nowhere mid-season.

In fact, I doubt he’s getting traded now. But like the Wall Street Journal, he’s available and will be dealt.

Just not now.