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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.

Delmon Young arrested for choking, threatening a valet

Delmon Young
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Major leaguer Delmon Young was arrested in Miami last night after allegedly choking and threatening a valet attendant, and using ethnic slurs. Andy Slater of 940-AM WINZ in Miami was the first to report Young’s arrest. HardballTalk has independently confirmed the report after speaking to the Miami Police Department.

According to the report, Young was angry that a valet at the Viceroy Hotel in Miami wouldn’t open a door with access to a club. He allegedly put his hands around the valet’s throat and said “Stupid Cuban, open the f***ing door,” and “I’m gonna f***ing kill you, you Latin piece of s**t.” Young, who lives at the Viceroy, fled the scene and was later arrested in his room. He initially denied that he took part in the confrontation but the valet identified him to police officers. When he was being arrested Young allegedly told the police officer “I’ll slap you in the face with money you f***ing Cuban.” Oh, and he was naked from the waist down when he first opened the door for the police and appeared to be intoxicated, slurring his speech.

As you no doubt recall, Young was arrested in New York in 2012 and eventually pled guilty for harassing people on the street and using anti-Semitic slurs while appearing in a “highly intoxicated” state.

Young, 30, hit .270/.289/.339 in 52 games for the Orioles last year. He has played for the Devil Rays and Rays, the Twins, the Tigers and the Phillies before two seasons in Baltimore. The veteran of ten major league seasons is a free agent right now. And, from the sound of things, he’s likely to stay that way indefinitely.

If Brett Anderson hits better this year, thank Josh Donaldson

Los Angeles Dodgers' Brett Anderson ducks away from a pitch from Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher David Holmberg on a bunt attempt during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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Or, at the very least, thank his bat.

Brett Anderson, who hit a meaty .085/.173/.106 last season, just got his first 2016 bat delivery, it seems. He posted a pic of the shiny lumber on Twitter a few minutes ago, with a message to his former teammate, the reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson, whose “JD” initials signifying whose model number it is are plainly visible on the barrel:

 

If Anderson breaks out offensively this year — say, he pushes that OBP over .200 — I may reconsider my “DH in the National League now” argument and merely suggest that pitchers get better bats.

In other news, whose bat was Zack Greinke using last year? And did he leave any behind at Camelback Ranch? Might be worth looking.

Diamondbacks working on a deal with Tyler Clippard

at Citi Field on July 28, 2015 in Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
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Last week Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart revealed that he was interested in signing free agent reliever Tyler Clippard and now Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the two sides have “made progress toward a deal.”

Piecoro notes that by trading Aaron Hill and his remaining contract to the Brewers the Diamondbacks created a bit of payroll flexibility that they could use to sign Clippard.

Clippard has a long history of excellent work as both a setup man and closer, but his raw stuff and secondary numbers have declined even though his ERA remained very good at 2.92 last season for the A’s and Mets. His strikeout rate dipped to a career-low 8.1 per nine innings, which is drop of about 25 percent from 2009-2014.

Two elite Cuban players defect

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Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com just reported that Yulieski Gurriel & Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who are brothers, reportedly defected and will be seeking MLB deals. There aren’t any details yet, but Sanchez will be updating with a full story that we’ll link here when he has it. UPDATE: Here it is.

Yulieski is a 31-year old third baseman and, according to Baseball America’s Ben Badler he was the No. 1 player remaining in Cuba. He was one of the Cuban players who was permitted to play in Japan recently, and he just put up a .305/.349/.536 season with 11 homers in 62 games for the Yokohama Bay Stars and has continued to rake in Cuba. He is likely major league ready right this instant. He’d be an unrestricted free agent given his age and team’s signing him would not be subject to international bonus pool limits.

Lourdes is only 22 years old. He’s hit .269/.355/.414 in 1036 Serie Nacional plate appearances and Badler thinks he has 20-homer potential in the majors one day. He’s currently a shortstop, but is probably destined for a corner. He is young enough to where he would be subject to bonus pool limits. Several teams have already exceeded those limits for the current signing period, limiting the number of teams who could sign him. If, however, it takes MLB a long time to clear him as a free agent — and with immigration issues and the like, that’s very possible — he may not be eligible to be signed until next year, which could bring some other teams into the fold.