That’s the best the Cardinals could do?

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Blue Jays acquire OF Colby Rasmus, LHP Trever Miller, RHP P.J. Walters and LHP Brian Tallet from the Cardinals for RHP Edwin Jackson, LHP Marc Rzepczynski, RHP Octavio Dotel and OF Corey Patterson.

I mean, I’m a little down on Colby Rasmus, too.  It’s probably not a good thing that he listens to his dad either as much or more than he listens to his big-league coaches.  His defense hasn’t been nearly as good this year as it was when he entered the league in 2009.  And after a sneaky-exceptional offensive season as a sophomore in 2010, Rasmus has taken an obvious step backwards in 2011.

But this is a great deal for the Blue Jays.  It’s a lot like last year’s Alex Gonzalez-for-Yunel Escobar swap, though this one has even more upside.

Rasmus is just 24.  He’s hit .259/.334/.444 in his three seasons, giving him 111 OPS+.  The only guys 25 or younger with better OPS+ the last three years are Evan Longoria, Carlos Gonzalez, Billy Butler, Justin Upton, Andrew McCutchen, Pablo Sandoval, Jay Bruce and Asdrubal Cabrera.  He’s a long-term answer in center field for the Blue Jays, and the biggest thing Toronto gave up to get him was Marc Rzepczynski.

I just can’t believe that the Cardinals, even if they felt that they had to move him, couldn’t get more for Rasmus.  A legitimate No. 2 starter or an All-Star-caliber middle infielder.  They gave up a terrific long-term property without getting a real difference-maker in return.  There’s the chance that Jackson will step it up under Dave Duncan’s tutelage, but he was working under a great pitching coach in Chicago and was just as maddening as usual.  I do like Rzep, both as a reliever now and maybe as a starter next year.  He’s under control through 2015, and he should be a nice asset for years.

But that’s not enough of a haul for Rasmus.  If they wanted Dotel, he would have been easy enough to pick up in a separate deal.  Corey Patterson?  Really?  They couldn’t even get the Jays to part with Rajai Davis instead?  Davis is certainly expendable enough with Rasmus’ arrival, and his right-handed bat makes far more sense for the Cardinals.  Jon Jay, who will replace Rasmus as the team’s primary center fielder, is a left-handed hitter, just like Patterson.

As for the rest of the players the Jays got, it was really just the dregs of the Cardinals’ roster.  Miller, who reportedly will be moved on to the White Sox as part of the original Edwin Jackson deal, has been useless as a lefty specialist lately.  Walters probably would have been bumped from the 40-man to make room for one of the four newcomers.  Tallet had an 8.31 ERA in 13 innings before going on the disabled list.  Absorbing the remainder of his $750,000 contract was part of the cost of doing business.

The Jays made out like bandits here, even after factoring in the hidden costs.  They were forced to take on $7.5 million unwanted dollars by absorbing the Mark Teahen and Tallet contracts.  They gave up the possibility of two supplemental first-round picks by moving Jason Frasor and Dotel.  And Rzepczynski is an underrated property with his fine 2.97 ERA in 39 1/3 innings out of the pen this year.   But to get a player like Rasmus, it really wasn’t much of a price to pay.

Update: For what it’s worth, the deal is now official and the Blue Jays are also surrendering three players to be named or cash considerations.  Hopefully there will be at least one interesting player in there for St. Louis.

Scott Boras: Astros players don’t need to apologize

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Ken Rosenthal spoke to Scott Boras about the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. Boras’ take: the Astros need not apologize for what they did. They were mere babes in the woods who were ignorant of everything. I wish I was making this up. Scotty Baby:

“I’m doing what my organization is telling me to do,” Boras said on Wednesday, describing the hypothetical mindset of a player. “You installed this. You put this in front of us. Coaches and managers encourage you to use the information. It is not coming from the player individually. It is coming from the team. In my stadium. Installed. With authority.”

The analogy Boras used was the speed limit.

A man driving 55 mph in a 35-mph zone only believes he is speeding if the limit is clearly posted. Likewise, Boras said Astros’ players who committed infractions only should apologize if they were properly informed of their boundaries.

It’s worth noting two things at this juncture: (1) Scott Boras represents José Altuve and Lance McCullers; and (2) He’s 100% full of crap here. Indeed, the contortions Astros players and their surrogates are putting themselves through to avoid accountability is embarrassing.

The players knew what they were doing.  Please do not insult me by saying they didn’t. Boras is doing what he thinks he needs to do to protect his guys. I get it, that’s his job. His client Altuve in particular stepped on it last weekend when he and other Astros players tried to play the “we’re going to overcome this adversity/no one believed in us” card which played terribly, and the super agent is trying to clean up the mess as best he can. Hat tip to him for his hustle, which he has never not shown. Guy’s a pro.

But he can only do so much because this all remains on the Astros’ players. Yes, the formal punishment is on the manager, the general manager and the club, and I agree that it had to be given all of the complications of the situation, but now that that’s over, it’s time for some honest accountability. And we’re getting zero of it.

Which is insane because the players were given immunity. They’re 100% in the clear. That they cheated has angered a lot of people, but it does not make them irredeemable. As I have noted here many times, lots of others did too. But their lack of accountability over the past couple of weeks speaks very, very poorly of them.

“We crossed a line. No question. We’re sorry. We don’t think it caused us to win anything we didn’t earn, but we see how we created that perception ourselves through our own actions. We shouldn’t have done that. Going forward we’re going to be better. Again, we’re sorry.”

That’s about all it’d take and it’d be done. It’d be pretty easy to say, if for no other reason than because that’s probably what’s gone through their minds anyway. They’re not bad people.

But they’re also observers of America in 2020 and, I suspect, everything they’ve seen, consciously or unconsciously, has counseled against them saying those very simple words or something like them.

Everything that’s going on in America right now — politics especially — tells people that the path to success is to cheat, steal and lie in order to benefit themselves and themselves only. It’s also telling them that, if they get caught, they should lie and deny too. It works. The media, for the most part, will not call anyone of status out on a lie, even if the lie is ridiculous. At most it will repeat the denial like a stenographer reading back from a transcript fearing that to do any more would be to — gasp! — reveal an opinion. “Shlabotnik says that he was cloned by Tralfamadorians and it was his clone, not him, who stole the signs.” Heaven forbid someone add the word “falsely” in there. They won’t because if they do they’re going to be accused of being “biased” or “political” or whatever.

If you see that — and we all see it — why wouldn’t you be predisposed to avoid apologizing for anything? Why wouldn’t you try to offer some canned, facially neutral talking points and hope that everyone is satisfied that you’ve spoken? Why wouldn’t you, having done that for a few weeks, begin to believe that, actually, you’re right not do say anything more. And  that, maybe, you were never in the wrong at all? That’s were we are as a country now, that’s for sure. And given that sports reflects society, it should not be at all surprising that that attitude has infected sports as well.

Astros owner Jim Crane tells Rosenthal that there could be an apology in spring training. “Quite frankly, we’ll apologize for what happened, ask forgiveness and move forward,” Crane said.

One thing I’ve learned in life is that when someone says “quite frankly,” what follows is going to be insincere most of the time. Another thing I’ve learned is that, in comments such as Crane’s, the emphasis is strongly on the “move forward” part of things. He wants an apology to put an end to a bad news cycle. When it comes, it will be P.R.-vetted and couched in the most sterile and corporate language imaginable. It will be anything but sincere.

In the meantime, the rest of the Astros don’t seem to want to offer an apology at all. Why should they? What’s making them?