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.