As reported by Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Sunday morning, the Cardinals and White Sox are having trade discussions involving Colby Rasmus and Edwin Jackson. On the surface, this would appear to address a concern in the rotation as it would allow McClellan to move back to the bullpen. However, the 27 year old Jackson is set to be a free agent after this season and hasn’t exactly been ‘lights out’ to this point in the year. The righthander is 7-7 with a 3.92 ERA after Sunday’s win against Cleveland, but he doesn’t exactly fit the Dave Duncan mold as a ground ball pitcher. The talks also involve left handed set up reliever Matt Thornton, who recently signed a two year extension, as well as a prospect in either scenario. Rasmus is arbitration eligable until 2015 at a payroll friendly salary.
Obviously the teams are dealing within a seller’s market as many teams view themselves as contenders at this point. Could the Cardinals be rushing into a deal to unload Rasmus now instead of waiting until the off season? It doesn’t appear that Rasmus has become a clubhouse distraction at this time and would be tough to do considering the strong veteran presence. Tony LaRussa has sent a strong message to GM John Mozeliak this past week as Jon Jay has received the lion’s share of playing time in center field. Tony has basically said that he doesn’t feel that Rasmus can get the job done for him, as his slump continues. He did play well in his start on Sunday, but he is still very inconsistent on defense and his throwing arm does not make base runners think twice about going.
The team could likely get more in a package for Rasmus this offseason. The Cards’ brass has made it clear they’re going for it all this year, as it could potentially be the last for Pujols in the fold. LaRussa has obviously made his stance well known with the playing time given to Rasmus. We’ll find this week if the club pulls the trigger to trade their enigmatic young centerfielder or if they attempt to work with him through his growing pains.
(St. Louis Post-Dispatch, ESPN, baseball-reference.com)