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.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.