colby rasmus and tony rasmus

Tony Rasmus goes to Toronto, talks St. Louis


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.


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.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.