Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com is reporting that the Blue Jays have inked Colby Rasmus to a $2.7 million contract for 2012, thus avoiding salary arbitration with the 25-year-old center fielder.
Rasmus made a poor first impression with Toronto last year, batting just .173/.201/.316 in 140 plate appearances after being acquired from the Cardinals at the July trade deadline. But he’s still regarded as an immensely talented young player and would seem capable of shifting his career back on track.
The former first-round pick made a big splash in 2010, when, as a 23-year-old, he registered a sparkling .859 OPS with 23 home runs and 12 stolen bases in 144 games for St. Louis. His development took a sudden detour in 2011 and his clashes with the Cardinals’ coaching staff eventually resulted in an eight-player swap.
Rasmus will be eligible for arbitration twice more before getting a crack at the free agent market.