We heard earlier this week that Orioles manager Buck Showalter was planning to visit free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus in Alabama in the near future and Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun hears that the meeting is set to go down today.
Showalter isn’t there as part of a recruiting effort, but rather to get a handle on whether Rasmus would be a good fit in Baltimore:
Showalter is meeting with Rasmus to hear what the 28-year-old outfielder has to say and to determine whether he’ll mesh with the current Orioles. There’s no question Rasmus has talent, but he’s shown it only in spurts and he hasn’t been able to maintain consistency. He’s been labeled an underachiever, a brooder and difficult to coach.
Showalter doesn’t care about labels – he’s had plenty of labels slapped on him over the years. But he is insistent on finding players that will buy into his team-first, us-against-the-world, fundamentally sound mentality.
Ultimately, even if Showalter signs off on Rasmus, it doesn’t mean the free agent becomes an Oriole. There are still contractual issues to be worked out and Rasmus could always choose a more lucrative deal elsewhere. Plus the Orioles are eyeing other outfielders as well. But if Showalter is in, a one-year, make-good deal with Rasmus could be enticing for both sides.
It’s hard to blame Showalter for going the extra mile here. A former top prospect with the Cardinals, Rasmus has been maddeningly inconsistent during his career, showing flashes of brilliance at times and looking lost at others. After batting .276 with 22 home runs and an .840 OPS in 2013, he hit just .225 with 18 home runs and a .735 OPS this past season. Strikeouts are a major issue for him, but he has pop in his bat and just turned 28 last August. Assuming Showalter likes the cut of his jib, a match could make sense for all involved. It’s believed that Rasmus is looking at a one-year deal in the range of $6 to $8 million.