Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus hasn’t been playing as much lately and Tuesday manager John Gibbons made it official, telling the 28-year-old he’s been benched.
Or as Rasmus said to John Lott of the National Post:
I’ll be playing whenever they think I should play and I’m just going to be sitting around watching these rookies play. … I’m not down about it. No hard feelings. I’m just going to come in and pull for these boys and hope they do good.
Rasmus has been the Blue Jays’ starting center fielder since they acquired him from the Cardinals in mid-2011, but he’s failed to live up to the promise he showed in St. Louis. Combined in three-plus seasons in Toronto he’s hit .234 with a .725 OPS, including .225 with 16 homers and a .726 OPS in 95 games this season.
The homers are nice and overall Rasmus’ production has been decent for a center fielder offensively, but he’s an impending free agent and the Blue Jays have no intention of re-signing him. Expect to see a lot of 25-year-old rookie Kevin Pillar and 23-year-old rookie Anthony Gose in his place down the stretch.
Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the White Sox and Diamondbacks have emerged as two of the strongest contenders for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. It seems like a foregone conclusion that Baltimore will deal their superstar infielder this winter, but nothing appears imminent just yet. While both the White Sox and D-backs have reportedly made serious offers, Orioles owner Peter Angelos is wary of any non-contending team that might be incentivized to flip Machado to the rival Yankees next season.
The White Sox, for their part, have assured the Orioles that they view Machado more as a solid one-year rental than the new face of their franchise, with no immediate plans to deal him elsewhere. Given their current rebuilding status and the unlikelihood that they would contend in 2018, it makes their offer a bit of a head-scratcher — and, as USA Today Sports’ Bob Nightengale points out, they’ve been reluctant to put any top-5 prospects on the table in preliminary negotiations.
The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, are far better positioned to enter the postseason in 2018, though that doesn’t automatically make them the perfect landing spot for Machado. They already have Jake Lamb stationed at third base, and while it’s not inconceivable that they could jettison the Ketel Marte/Chris Owings/Nick Ahmed shortstop platoon for someone of Machado’s talent, his $17 million salary appears to be more than the D-backs are currently capable of absorbing.
The White Sox and D-backs may have exhibited the most interest in Machado so far, but they’re hardly the only contenders here. MASN Sports’ Roch Kubatko maintains that the Cardinals and Yankees remain in discussions for the 25-year-old, with Cardinals’ RHP Jordan Hicks and catcher Carson Kelly drawing interest, as well as Yankees’ top prospect Gleyber Torres. Any deal involving the Yankees still feels like a long shot, however; as Craig mentioned on Wednesday, it makes sense that the club wouldn’t want to see their star player hanging around their division rivals in 2018, and the Yankees should be well prepared to make a run at him in free agency next winter.