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.
Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become a free agent after the 2018 season and there hasn’t been much in the way of progress on a contract extension between the two sides. It seems as if Machado will test the open market next offseason.
The Phillies, currently with relatively minuscule obligations for the 2018 season and beyond, are expected to be big players for Machado, as well as other potential free agents like Bryce Harper. In fact, the Phillies may not even want to wait until next offseason, as Roch Kubatko of MASN reports that the club has expressed interest in Machado to the Orioles. In return, the O’s have been doing their homework on the Phillies’ minor league system.
Kubatko notes that the Orioles like, in particular, Phillies prospects Sixto Sanchez and Scott Kingery. The Phillies may be hesitant to part with either considering they can get Machado for a lot of cash but no prospects next winter. MLB Pipeline rates Sanchez as the Phillies’ best pitching prospect and the second-best prospect overall in the system. Kingery is third overall and the top infielder. While the Phillies’ system is among the best in baseball, its notable weakness is pitching, so parting with Sanchez — who throws in the upper 90’s and can hit triple digits — would be a big ask. Kingery is seen as the club’s next second baseman of the future, so much so that the Phillies are shopping Cesar Hernandez at the Winter Meetings.
As usual with rumors during the Winter Meetings, there may be some smoke but no actual fire here. The Orioles are likely to get continued interest in Machado from many teams between now and the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. They are simply doing their due diligence by seeing what the Phillies and others have to offer for Machado.