In terms of the future of the franchise, Rasmus>La Russa. The impact of a manager hasn’t been something I’ve seen nerds really be able to penetrate; it’s something that is made murky by secondary factors and the human element.  If you follow me on Twitter, you probably have come to conclusion that  I would like to roll La Russa up in a carpet and throw him off of a bridge.

I honestly don’t believe he’s a bad manager, as he didn’t get his reputation as a Hall of Fame manager for no good reason at all. But I do tend to think that his overall value to the team is greatly inflated in the minds of pundits and fans (thanks, Buzz!). What irks me is all silly personality clashes with players, the need to use his favorite pets, and his odd machinations and weird lineup cards.

The rub is that as La Russa goes, so might Pujols go. The Mang must be appeased because we need the Mang to stay in St. Louis. The Mang likes Tony. The Mang doesn’t like anyone who doesn’t like Tony. Therefore Rasmus must go.

It’s completely stupid, but you get the feeling that despite the public hugging-it-out we’ve read about between Colby and La Russa in the press the past few days, we’re going to read about Colby being jettisoned away some cold January morning if La Russa comes back for another season. And that thought is very depressing.

So to brace myself for the pain of witnessing my all-time favorite Faberge egg being moved, I am going to play this scenario out and then go back to soothing myself with false comforts that all is going to be well between the Raz and the Genius.

Using Sky Kalkman’s Trade Value Calculator, here’s what I conservatively (?) estimated Rasmus’ surplus value as. The Raz has averaged 3.5 WAR per 625 plate appearances. (Hint: Give him 600+ PA’s per season, then everyone is happy.)

What kind of a player could Rasmus fetch? The club isn’t in the place to trade him for a player making more than Rasmus, so we’re talking about trading prospects. Prospect surplus value has been studied by Victor Wang, and then smoothed out by this quick study based on some discussions with Matt Swartz. Click the link, eyeball the tables.

In a straight value for value trade, Rasmus could bring the Cardinals anything outside of a top ten hitting prospect.  The problem is, as Jayson Stark has pointed out, is that if a team perceives the Cardinals have to move Rasmus, they’ll only be willing to pay 60 cents on the dollar. That might get the Cardinals one really good pitching prospect. That may mean a Shelby Miller-type if the Cardinals were willing to wait, but given the Cardinals’ needs, someone closer to the majors and more polished makes a lot more sense. I’m not going to speculate about who that might be, but here is BA’s mid-season Top 50 for your perusal. I’m sure a lot has changed since it was published, but it gives you some ideas.

Moving Rasmus also leaves a big, gaping hole in the OF. No more fire burning in the outfield. :_(

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to find a happy place.

Takeaways: Personality clashes are dumb. Rasmus is good. The team could get a good player for Rasmus, but probably not a player as good as Rasmus. Also, personality clashes are dumb.

Erik Manning

Erik became addicted to Cardinals baseball as a young lad growing up on the mean streets of O'Fallon, MO. He moved away to Tulsa to attend Bible College, where he met his wife, who talked him into moving to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, also known as the Bermuda triangle of baseball. His dream is to see the MLB.tv blackouts end, and his other interests are theology and philosophy of religion. He is the parent of two young boys.

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10 Responses to “What Would Rasmus Fetch?”

  1. I could tell last year that TLR didn’t like Rasmus after the clip of him throwing his hat in Game 2 of the NLDS after Colby was nailed at third, even after driving in at least one run (I forget how many now). He never would have done it if one of his pets like Felipe Lopez had done the same.

    That said, I do find it interesting that the Mozeliak/Luhnow system of protecting the “dry powder” at darn near all costs seems to be at odds with the grim reality that if the A1 Untouchable Faberge Egg butts up against the desire to (potentially) keep TLR, and by proxy Pujols, happy, something has to give.

  2. [...] Play A Hard Nine examines Colby Rasmus‘ trade value following his fall-out with the Cardinals. [...]

  3. I’m a Cubs fan so I’m ignorant when it comes to news about Pujols’ free agency after the 2011 season. I get that if Pujols wants Tony around then you keep Tony. However, if I was the Cardinals I would only give Pujols what he wants if he were signed beyond 2011. I’m not going to trade Rasmus or hire or fire managers and coaches because some player under contract for one more season wants me to.

    So I guess I’m wondering, is the organization going to please Pujols even though he may only be on the team for one more year? That seems shortsighted. That seems like something the Cubs would not; not the Cardinals.

    • Right, what I was implying that to appease Albert and convince him to come back beyond next year, then if you have to trade Rasmus then I guess you have to trade Rasmus. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail, of course.

      • I would guess that’s exactly what happens, but it’s hard to know what a team will do in the Cardinals situation. Teams do have a tendency to overreact when seasons have not gone as planned like this year for the Cardinals. Or maybe that’s just the Cubs who overreact to every single thing possible.

  4. @mb21 You’re looking at the team who traded for Pedro Feliz.

  5. The cardinals could get an Angel Pagan type player

  6. I had him at something like 21 WAR over 5 years for the BtB 50 best of the next 5 years (good for 28th overall), so your 4 year estimate is pretty good. Maybe just a hair low.

  7. The Cardinals have played slightly below .500 ball since late May. Now this team is only 4 games above .500 and sinking fast after getting swept at home against a pathetic Cubs team. This team has lacked any consistent hitting in every spot of the lineup except for Pujols, Holliday, and Molina. Rasmus certainly has potential, but he strikes out far too many times and never seems to be bothered by it! This trend of continually expanding the strike zone has continued over the past two seasons! When is he ever going to mature?
    Tony certainly can’t be blamed for the team that was given him. His middle infielders have become almost automatic outs all season and Feliz at 3rd can’t hit his way out of a wet paper bag! Lopez needs to sit and Miles is lucky to hit the ball 200 feet. Bench players like Winn and Stavinoha certainly don’t strike fear into the hearts of anyone. If this team wants to keep their good pitchers and sign Albert Pujols long term then DeWallet has to ante up to at least $100 million/year!

  8. [...] Play A Hard Nine examines Colby Rasmus‘ trade value following his fall-out with the Cardinals. [...]

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