Trade Target: Colby Rasmus


Twice a year we at Motor City Bengals get to speculate on potential pieces the Tigers may go after, at the trade deadline, and in the off-season. It’s really hard to tell which way the Tigers are going to go. They have some clear needs, but Tigers owner Mike Ilitch has already spent a boatload of money on the current team, and he may or may not be willing to add more payroll. We don’t know for sure, hence the speculation.

We’ve already mentioned a few guys on site here. Chris Hannum mentioned Colorado outfielder Dexter Fowler, Peter Bourjos, and Macier Izturis as potential players Detriot may target. There has been the inference that Jed Lowrie of the Astros would be a fit as well.

You can look back for any of those articles if you would like by putting the players name in the search box at the top right of the page.

Obviously, this speculative piece centers around Colby Rasmus.

With more teams receiving playoff spots this season, and more teams inherently in the hunt for one because of that, the sellers might be few and far between. Trading in 2012 might take on a different dynamic. Basically, teams might trade from a major league strength to get a guy who can help with one of their weaknesses. Toronto is one of those teams that is on the fence, and they have a definite need for pitching, given that 3 of their starters are on the shelf.

Why the Jays could/would part with Rasmus:

Rasmus is a sell high kind of player right now. It depends on what their management thinks of Rasmus long term. That is going to be the deciding factor in whether or not he is available. Rasmus has been way better in June and July, mainly due to a change in his batting stance. Or, since it’s only a month old, it could just be a hot streak. If Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopolous believes that Rasmus is going to continue hitting near .300, they aren’t likely to move him. He is pretty cheap and controlled through 2015. If they do make him available, they could potentially be maximizing the value of a streaky player, who earlier this year wouldn’t have brought back near the players he was traded for originally.

The Blue Jays also have a top prospect of theirs in AAA who happens to be a CF in Anthony Gose. If the Jays feel Gose is ready to take over the big league job, it would make sense to grab a pitcher that can contribute down the stretch for them.

Why the Tigers would want Rasmus:

A couple reasons really. One, as I mentioned above, Rasmus is a cost controlled player for the next two years after this season. At 25 years old, it could just be the new stance is something that is going to help him take off a little bit. I’m not sure that I believe Rasmus is ever going to hit for much more than .260 or so, but I do believe the power is real, and we don’t need him to play CF. We need him to play LF or RF, which I think he can do admirably, if not at an above average level. According to Fangraphs, he is an above average defender in center this year, however, he has been below average the past two seasons.

Rasmus would be an immediate upgrade to either Boesch, Young, and probably Andy Dirks OPS wise. At the very least, he would provide some power at the corner outfield spot the Tigers so desperately need right now. Defensively, I don’t think there is any question he would be better, and the Tigers would be getting a two way player.

The Cost:

Here is the deal. Rasmus was traded to Toronto for a package that included Edwin Jackson and two relievers, one of them being Octavio Dotel. I would think, especially considering his last month, Anthopolous would look for a deal in that same vicinity. However, his slightly desperate need for a starter could drive that price down. This could be a potential straight up deal for Rick Porcello, but I am not sure the Tigers could afford that at this point. That would mean the Tigers would have to rely on Drew Smyly and Jacob Turner in their rotation, and with Doug Fister struggling a bit, and Max Scherzer inconsistent, it would be tough for the Tigers to pull the trigger on that one.

A Drew Smyly and Brennan Boesch deal might be more realistic from the Tigers standpoint.

I don’t know. Throwing out trade scenarios always is tough, our opinion on players’ value just doesn’t always represent what MLB people think. We tend to overvalue our own players, and undervalue other teams.

I would say the Blue Jays would be 50/50 on moving Rasmus at the deadline, but it could move given on how the next couple weeks go for them. If they believe they are in contention, and it sounds like they want to add, a shoring of their weakness by dealing from a position of strength might be their approach.

All I know is the Tigers could use him.