Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and young center fielder Colby Rasmus had a well-chronicled falling out in the middle of the 2010 season. Rasmus felt like he wasn’t being treated as an everyday player, La Russa didn’t like that a young player was being so vocal. Etcetera.
It got ugly at one point, apparently, and the 24-year-old Rasmus requested a trade to another organization while the Cards were playing a series at Chicago’s Wrigley Field in late July. The two have since mended their relationship and appear likely to return together for another season in St. Louis, but that won’t stop rumors linking the ultra-talented Rasmus to other clubs.
Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times heard from a scout Friday that White Sox GM Kenny Williams has “targeted” Rasmus and is willing to deal Carlos Quentin in a package for him. The scout said that the Cardinals have expressed interest in Quentin, or have at least scouted him, and that “this might have been something that was already talked about.”
The rumor seems legitimate enough, but this whole report serves as a giant Exhibit A as to why Rasmus won’t be leaving St. Louis this winter. Quentin has a decent power bat, but he is four years older than the Cards center fielder, not nearly as talented defensively and entering his second year of arbitration eligibility.
Rasmus batted .276/.361/.498 with 23 homers, 66 RBI and 12 stolen bases in only 464 at-bats this past season and is under team control through 2014. For the Cards to move the youngster, they’ll have to be blown away by an offer. Quentin and a couple of throw-in prospects will not get the job done.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.
Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.
The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.
Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.
The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.
He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.