Colby Rasmus has decided to simply let his bat do the talking while Cardinals Nation divides itself into “Team Colby” and “Team TLR” over his well-publicized beef with manager Tony La Russa.
Rasmus went 4-for-4 with a pair of homers and four RBIs in a blowout win over the Braves last night and is now 11-for-24 (.458) with five extra-base hits in eight games this month.
It’s tough to imagine even La Russa benching someone playing that well while the Cardinals cling to their playoff lives, but then again it’s tough to imagine anyone benching a 23-year-old center fielder hitting .276/.360/.514 on the season and TLR has managed to do that plenty.
La Russa has been managing in the majors since 1979. During that time, here’s a list of the best adjusted OPS+ totals posted by 23-year-old center fielders:
Ken Griffey Jr. 1993 171
Lloyd Moseby 1983 134
COLBY RASMUS 2010 133
Grady Sizemore 2006 133
Ellis Burks 1988 131
Andruw Jones 2000 125
Andrew McCutchen 2009 112
In other words, during La Russa’s three-plus decades as a manager the only center fielder to clearly out-hit Rasmus at age 23 is Ken Griffey Jr.
Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.
It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.
Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:
He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.
“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”
The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.