Colby Rasmus might be on the move.
From Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch comes word that the Cardinals’ front office has engaged in “accelerated” trade negotiations this week with White Sox GM Kenny Williams.
No deal is imminent, but Rasmus is the centerpiece and the Cards are believed to have their sights set on White Sox starter Edwin Jackson and lefty reliever Matt Thornton. Some minor league talent might also be exchanged, and a third team could enter the mix in order to complete the potential swap.
Rasmus is batting just .241 with a .730 OPS through 374 plate appearances this season and has at times played hesitant defense in the outfield, but he’s still regarded as one of the top all-around center fielders in the game and probably hasn’t hit his peak at the age of 24. In 2010, the former first-round pick registered a quality .859 OPS with 23 home runs, 66 RBI and 12 stolen bases.
Rasmus has twice requested a trade away from St. Louis and it appears the Cardinals might now grant that wish in order to bolster their pitching staff. The Redbirds enter play Sunday with a slight lead in the NL Central.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.