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Colby Rasmus: “I still got a lot of stuff going on through my head from being in St. Louis”

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The eight-player trade that sent Colby Rasmus to Toronto back in late July was supposed to have a liberating effect for the young center fielder.

His relationship with Cardinals manager Tony La Russa had reached a tipping point, and most assumed that the 25-year-old would begin to flourish in a new, less mentally-taxing environment.

So far, the results have not been promising — whether you want to focus on the on-field or off-field side of the trade and its early aftereffects.

Rasmus, who is batting just .187/.217/.341 through 129 plate appearances since joining the Blue Jays, held a brief pregame chat with reporters late last week in Toronto that John Lott of Canada’s National Post described as being filled with “curious angst and ambiguity.”

Below are some highlights from Lott’s article on the presser. It’s worth reading in full.

On the topic of working through offensive struggles:

His manager says Jays’ coaches are plugging away every day, trying to help Rasmus find his timing at the plate. Yet when asked about the focus of his daily drills, Rasmus replied: “I’m not working on anything right now.”

On the ugly way things ended with the Cardinals:

He said he is eager for the season to end, for the pressure of high expectations to fade, for a few months away from baseball to dissolve the bitter taste of his final days in St. Louis. “I still got a lot of stuff going on through my head from being over in St. Louis,” Rasmus said.

On comparing the atmospheres in the two cities he’s now called home:

On one hand, Rasmus said he likes the Jays’ “laid-back” atmosphere. On the other, he seemed to miss the big crowds in St. Louis.

“There’s a lot of different things. The games are a lot slower. In St. Louis it was a packed house every night. A little different here. The team’s a little more laid-back, the coaches are a little more laid-back over here. In St. Louis, it was pretty tight-knit.”

And finally, here’s Rasmus on the topic of being labeled a “five-tool” prospect:

“It’s like I always say: Everybody always tries to put these expectations on me. I don’t say anything, I just go out there and play the game.”

Maybe Rasmus will find his groove next season or in the years to come and meet the lofty goals many have set for him, but he sure doesn’t sound comfortable. And he’s certainly not playing like he’s comfortable.

Zack Greinke named the Dbacks’ Opening Day starter

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 21:  Pitcher Zack Greinke #21 of the Arizona Diamondbacks poses for a portrait during photo day at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on February 21, 2017 in Scottsdale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Not a surprise, but a news item on a slow news day is a news item on a slow news day: Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo has named Zack Greinke as the club’s Opening Day starter.

Greinke’s first season with the Diamondbacks is not exactly what the club hoped for when he signed a six-year, $206.5 million deal in December of 2015. He dealt with oblique and shoulder issues while struggling to a 4.37 ERA over 26 starts. Greinke hasn’t pitched yet this spring, but will make his spring debut on Friday. He and the club are obviously hoping for a quiet March and a strong beginning to the season.

Either for its own sake or to increase the trade value of a player who was acquired by the previous front office regime.

“La Vida Baseball,” celebrating Latino baseball, launches

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A new website has launched. It’s called “La Vida Baseball,” and it’s all about celebrating the past, present and future of Latino baseball from a Latino perspective.

The site, produced in partnership with the Hall of Fame, has four general areas of focus:

  • Who’s Now: Focusing on current Latino players;
  • Who’s Next: Focusing on top prospects here, in the Caribbean and in Central and South America;
  • Our Life: Off-the-Field stuff, including player’s lives, lifestyles and hobbies; and
  • Our Legends: Focusing on Latino baseball history, Hall of Famers and overlooked players.

As the site has just launched there aren’t yet a ton of stories up there, but there is one about Roberto Clemente, another about Felix Hernandez and some other stuff.

The site is much-needed. Baseball reporters for American outlets are overwhelmingly white, non-Spanish speakers. Reporters, who, generally, gravitate to the players who are the most like they are. Which is understandable on some level. When you’re writing stories about people you need to be able to communicate with them and relate to them on more than a mere perfunctory level. As such, no matter how good the intentions of baseball media, we tend to see the clubhouse and the culture of baseball from a distinctly American perspective. And we tend to paint Latino players with a broad, broad brush.

La Vida Baseball will, hopefully, remedy all of that and will, hopefully, give us a fresh and insightful depiction Latino players and their culture.