A couple hours ago, the Toronto Sun's Bob Elliott reported that the Blue Jays have offered Colby Rasmus to two different teams for options to bolster their starting rotation. Rasmus is coming back from a bounceback season in which he hit .276/.338/.501 with 22 homers while slickly patrolling centre field. Rasmus enjoyed a fantastic July in which he hit .371/.413/.588, hitting 12 of his 26 doubles. Unfortunately, after that month, he was limited to just 16 more games in the season, first suffering an oblique strain then getting hit in the eye by an errant ball thrown by Anthony Gose in warmup.
Rasmus, 27, can become a free agent after next season unless the Blue Jays can sign him to an extension. As Alex Anthopoulos is known for being very thorough, I don't know if we can make too much of any rumours or think that a deal is imminent or even close to being closed. We have not heard much about a possible extension for Rasmus--one could speculate that the Jays are dangling Rasmus because there may have been some difficulty getting on to the same page in terms of contract negotiations.
Even though it it seems that other teams are asking for young pitching prospects--like Marcus Stroman or Aaron Sanchez--in exchange for their starters, Anthopoulos is making pitching depth a priority after what he had to go through last season. And with him stating in his daily media session that there is now a "three-to-five-year" window to win (we had thought that the Blue Jays were already in year two of a three-year window), there might be more reason for Anthopoulos to keep his young pitching, which should be hitting their prime around the end of said range, than to deal them away.
The Blue Jays do seem to have some depth in the outfield with Moises Sierra out of options and Anthony Gose possibly ready to take the centre field job. John Gibbons mentioned yesterday that Gose could benefit from major league time as he is the type of player who can do better in the majors than in the minors. Gose's speed and defense is major league ready, but his bat--and frankly his head--may not yet be ready, especially on a team with such pressure to win and contend.
On the other hand, Anthopoulos also indicated to the press that the high hopes and high asking prices free agent had heading into the offseason are going down (but as Shi Davidi pointed out in that piece, he didn't specify whether pitching prices are going down). Talking about his "five-year rule" on free agents, Anthopoulos explained to Ben Nicholson-Smith that it may be slightly bent to include six years, but he believes that five years at a higher price per year is better than signing a free agent to a seven-year contract for the same total price, telling Davidi,
At the end of the day if you do that, if you’re eating the last two years of a deal or the last three years of a deal, if you’re really representing the contract appropriately to the ball club and ownership, you better say, these last two or three years don’t mean anything, bump those into the first three or four, and that’s ultimately what you’re paying the player. Just go shorter and pay him, just dump in the money, it’s the same thing. If you’re going to go seven times 10, or go five times 14, it balances out at the end of the day.
I can't really wrap my head around that--maybe it's because I am tired--but if the club is going to pay out the $70 million anyway (as in his example) wouldn't it benefit the club to control the player for longer? Or is he saying that offering a five-year contract at $14 million incentivizes free agents to sign because it could mean they are back on the free agent market earlier?
Anthopoulos also mentioned in Davidi's piece that players under control who are willing to negotiate an extension is more valuable, referencing R.A. Dickey's deal last winter--could he also be referring to what Colby Rasmus can bring back if a trade partner reaches an extension agreement?