colby rasmus and tony rasmus

Tony Rasmus goes to Toronto, talks St. Louis

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Tony Rasmus, the father of Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus, was an endless source of intrigue and entertainment for the St. Louis media during the two-plus years that his son spent with the Cardinals.

And now the Toronto press is getting a taste.

The elder Rasmus made his first-ever appearance at Rogers Centre on Sunday afternoon, joining 12 other dads of Blue Jays players in a pregame Father’s Day celebration before taking in the team’s 6-2 win over the Phillies in a reserved box along the right field line.

Tony Rasmus also spent a little time with John Lott of the National Post, discussing topics that revolved primarily around last year’s eight-player blockbuster trade between the Jays and Cardinals, and the events leading up to it. We’ll attempt to package the craziness into easily-digested bites, but Lott’s entire interview transcript is worth perusing.

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Tony Rasmus on his first visit to Toronto:

I was lucky enough to have my passport ready. My wife still hasn’t got hers. When they called and invited me up, I had to go over and say, ‘I’m sorry, baby, you don’t have your passport; I’ve got mine, so I’m going to have to go ahead and leave you here.’ She called me a thousand times. You know, ‘be careful, be careful walking around, that’s a big town.’

On why things went south at the end of Colby’s run with the Cardinals:

Looking back on it, maybe the fact that he was such a big prospect and they expected him to be Albert Pujols in St. Louis and not too many people are going to be Albert Pujols. Maybe the expectations they had for him were just hard for him to live up to. Maybe that pressure just wore him down. Obviously Tony wore on him a little bit, but Tony’s a Hall of Fame manager, you know. Maybe everybody can’t play for him.

On how things played out the week the trade was finalized:

Some stuff came out in the [St. Louis] newspaper that wasn’t accurate from Tony and we called [Colby’s] agent and said, ‘Man, he’s not going to keep saying all that stuff without somebody responding to it, so y’all need to get him out of there.’ That was about the way it went. So whenever they called and told me [about the trade], I was dancing the jig around the house. I called [Colby] first thing and he was like, ‘That’s an answer to a prayer. Thank goodness.’ Everything since that day has been absolutely awesome here.

We’ve been happy ever since the trade.

On the active role he’s played in Colby’s career — a point of contention in St. Louis:

My involvement’s really basically a batting-practice pitcher. It’s not like I get in there and go, ‘Hey, move your hands up here, do this.’ I’m not really a technical [coach]. But the fact is, I’m 46, but I can still throw about 90. So I can back up 60 feet and throw BP versus having to soft-toss to him. And I can throw breaking balls and changeups and that kind of stuff.

And obviously Colby had a hard time [in St. Louis]. I always told Colby, ‘Don’t mention my name, let me go ahead and throw to you, man, and go in the newsapapers and say Mark McGwire is my man, he’s the reason I’m hitting.’ But he don’t know how to lie and I think that’s a key to making it in this business, being able to not tell the truth a lot of the time.

To summarize: Colby Rasmus isn’t a good liar. And Tony Rasmus throws 90 mph with pinpoint control.

The Blue Jays and Jesse Chavez had an arbitration hearing Friday

Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Jesse Chavez works against the Texas Rangers during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 11, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports that the Blue Jays and right-hander Jesse Chavez had an arbitration hearing on Friday, with a decision expected today.

Chavez, who was acquired from the Athletics this offseason, requested $4 million and was offered $3.6 million by the Blue Jays when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. Toronto is known as a “file-and-trial” team, so they bring these cases to a hearing unless a multi-year deal can be reached. The three-person panel of arbitrators will choose one salary or the other.

Chavez, 32, posted a 4.18 ERA and 136/48 K/BB ratio in 157 innings across 26 starts and four relief appearances last season. He’s expected to compete for the fifth spot in Toronto’s rotation this spring.

Diamondbacks mulling over moving Yasmany Tomas to left field

Arizona Diamondbacks' Yasmany Tomas (24) blows a gum bubble during the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Friday, May 22, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
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After trading Ender Inciarte to the Braves as part of the Shelby Miller deal, Yasmany Tomas will go into 2016 as a regular in the Diamondbacks’ lineup. Signed to a six-year, $68.5 million contract in December of 2014, Tomas batted .273 with nine home runs and a .707 OPS over 426 plate appearances during his first season in the majors last year while struggling defensively between third base and right field. Third base is out as a possibility at this point, but the Diamondbacks are mulling over another defensive change for him.

According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said Friday that the club has discussed moving Tomas to left field and David Peralta to right.

“We’re definitely talking about it,” Hale said. “(Outfield coach) Dave McKay and I, (General Manager Dave Stewart) and (Chief Baseball Officer) Tony (La Russa), we think it might be best to switch them around.”

When the third base experiment flopped, the Diamondbacks put Tomas in right because they felt he would be the most comfortable there. The metrics weren’t kind to him. He’ll now have a full spring training to work on things if the club decides to make a change. Peralta isn’t the defender that Inciarte was, but he’s better than Tomas, so it’s understandable why the Diamondbacks would change their alignment.

Tomas is likely to be a liability no matter where he plays, but the Diamondbacks won’t mind as much if his bat begins to meet expectations. For a team with designs on the postseason, he’s a big key for this lineup.

Cubs, Jake Arrieta avoid arbitration at $10.7 million

Jake Arrieta
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The Associated Press is reporting that the Cubs and starter Jake Arrieta have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $10.7 million salary for the 2016 season. That marks the highest salary on a one-year deal for a pitcher with four years of service, the AP notes. Arrieta and the Cubs were set to go before an independent arbitrator but now can simply focus on the season ahead.

Arrieta, 29, is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He had filed for $13 million while the Cubs countered at $7.5 million. The $5.5 million gap was the largest among players who did not come to terms with their respective teams by the January deadline. The $10.7 million salary is $450,000 above the midpoint between the two submitted figures.

Arrieta won the National League Cy Young Award for his performance this past season, narrowly edging out Zack Greinke, then with the Dodgers. Arrieta led the majors with 22 wins, four complete games, and three shutouts. With that, he compiled a 1.77 ERA and a 236/48 K/BB ratio across 229 innings.

Once a top prospect in the Orioles’ minor league system, Arrieta struggled in the majors but found immediate success with the Cubs in 2013 after the O’s traded him along with Pedro Strop in exchange for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.

Giants sign Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal

Los Angeles Angels third baseman Conor Gillaspie is unable to hold on to the ball after catching a grounder hit by Kansas City Royals' Lorenzo Cain in the fourth inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
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Per Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, the Giants have signed infielder Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal. Gillaspie was selected by the Giants in the supplemental round of the 2008 draft, then was traded to the White Sox in February 2013.

Gillaspie, 28, hit a meager .228/.269/.359 with four home runs and 24 RBI in 253 plate appearances between the White Sox and Angels during the 2015 season. Almost all of his playing time has come at third base but he can also play first base if needed.

The Giants, thin on depth, will allow Gillaspie to audition in spring training for a spot on the 25-man roster.