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Colby Rasmus: “In the show they don’t necessarily like long hair and the redneck folks.”

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New Rays outfielder Colby Rasmus is still smarting a bit from not winning the American League Gold Glove Award. Though his defensive numbers were outstanding — his 31.0 UZR/150 was best among outfielders (min. 800 defensive innings), according to FanGraphs — Brett Gardner, Mookie Betts, and Kevin Kiermaier took the hardware.

Rasmus attributes his empty trophy case to people in the show not liking “long hair and redneck folks,” and Tony La Russa conspiring against him. Via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times:

You know how the game is. In the show they don’t necessarily like long hair and the redneck folks, that’s just the way it goes. My good old friend Tony La Russa he has a lot of pull in the game, so you never know. I just try to play the game how I play it. I play hard. I play the game kind of (all) out, and rough, so I’ve hurt myself along the way When it comes to back, injuries, they set you back for awards like that.

When Rasmus was 23 and with the Cardinals back in 2010, he went to GM John Mozeliak and demanded a trade due to reduced playing time, stemming from a strained relationship with then-manager La Russa. In a local interview the next summer, La Russa said that Rasmus “doesn’t listen” to his coaches. Rasmus was traded to the Blue Jays shortly thereafter. The day after the trade, Colby’s father Tony ripped La Russa in the media. So, there’s a bit of history here.

As far as Rasmus claiming that “they don’t necessarily like long hair and the redneck folks,” Madison Bumgarner is pretty well-liked and respected around the sport. Adam LaRoche won a Gold Glove back in 2012. Perchance Rasmus is suffering from a persecution complex.

2017 Preview: The National League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.

The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?

Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.

Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

2017 Preview: The American League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West

There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.

Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?

Our 2017 AL West Previews:

Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Oakland Athletics