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Happy Birthday Colby Rasmus

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Toronto Blue Jays v Oakland Athletics

Colby Rasmus turns 35 today.

Colby was a first-round pick in 2005, 28th in all. We picked Ricky Romero 6th.

He was on Baseball America’s top 100 prospects three years in a row. #29 in 2007, #5 in 2008 and #3 in 2009.

In 2009 Colby made it to the majors, hitting .251/.307/.407 with 16 home runs, picking up a few Rookie of the Year votes along the way. Then, Colby had a really good 2010 season, hitting 276/.361/.498 with 23 home runs, getting a 4.3 bWAR. It looked like he was becoming the player the prospects list suggested he would become.

2011 didn’t go quite as well. Rasmus was hitting 246/.332/.420 and not getting along with manager Tony La Russa. La Russa, a rather fast-talking, “genius” manager, wasn’t a fairly slow-talking Southerner fan. And, I often said, Colby was a square peg in baseball’s round hole world.

On July 27th, the Blue Jays made two multi-player trades. One with the White Sox bringing Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen to the Jays.

The second was a more significant trade with the Cardinals, sending Jackson, Octavio Dotel, Corey Patterson, and Marc Rzepczynski to St. Louis for Colby, Trever Miller, Brian Tallet, and P.J. Walters. The Cardinals wanted to shore up their bullpen, and Jackson filled out their rotation (and they won the World Series that year, so I’m sure they are happy with the deal). Add in that La Russa wanted Rasmus out of his sight. The Jays wanted a young player with a ton of upside.

I asked DanUpBaby from Viva El Birdos for a scouting report. In it, he said:

Your COLBY RASMUS comes equipped with HOME RUN ACTION, INTERMITTENTLY IMPRESSIVE DEFENSE ACTION, and DEBATABLY USEFUL SPEED ACTION. Please do not expose your COLBY RASMUS to direct sunlight, fans of MAKING THINGS HAPPEN on offense or TONY LA RUSSA.

He never lived up to expectations with us. 2013 was pretty good; he hit .276/.338/.501 with 22 home runs in 118 games. But, for the most part, he was inconsistent, dealt with nagging injuries, and struck out too much.

His 2014 season didn’t go well. He wasn’t happy. He said:

I’ve lost a little bit of that drive just because so many people are always just poking and prodding at me. And I felt, at times, like an animal at the zoo. You know, you keep poking at it until, one day, they bite back at you.

He was pretty obviously depressed. Like many, he seemed to have issues with his parents, or, at least, his dad. I’m not a fan of blaming parents, but most of us hear our parents in our heads when we do things. So after he left the team I said:

I think we all have those voices in our heads, telling us we aren’t good enough. Most of us learn to get past them, ignore them and get on with life. Some use it to drive them to do better, “I’ll show them”. Colby doesn’t seem to be able to do that. He remembers all the little insults and carries them with him. He still talks about his troubles with Tony LaRussa, it is easy to say he should get past it, but he can’t.

He played a couple of seasons with the Astros. Then he started the 2017 season with the Rays but left them to go home. Then started the 2018 season with the Orioles, but, again, left to go home. This time it seems to have stuck.

I liked him. He, occasionally, let us in on his personality. On the ‘winter tour’ he looked like he was having fun. I enjoyed those moments he smiled. The little profile showing his condo and him stopping for a chicken hot dog. The various hairdos I didn’t like.

I like round pegs for square holes.

I hope he is happy now. I’m sure I’ll never know. But I’m glad he can live the way he wants to live. He made enough money that he should be set for life. That’s not a bad thing for a 35-year-old.

Happy Birthday, Colby.

Mike Huff turns 58 today.

Mike was a right-handed-hitting outfielder. He spent the last three seasons of a seven-year MLB career with the Jays.

I don’t remember much about Mike, other than I liked him a season of Diamond Mind Baseball. He had a good 1994 season, hitting .304/.382/.449 with 3 home runs in the lockout-shortened season. 1995 didn’t go as well, .232/.337/.333 in 61 games. He got into 11 games in 1996, and that was the end of his carer.

In 7 MLB seasons, he hit .247/.344/.351 with 9 home runs in 369 games. Not that bad for a 16th round pick.

He had been a football player (quarterback) and basketball player in high school. A knee injury ended his playing days in those sports before college, but he continued playing baseball. Unfortunately, the knee injury likely stopped him from having a better MLB career.

Among the things in his bio, he helped work with Michael Jordan, helping him learn how to play defense in the outfield.

He is married, has three daughters, and works coaching kids in baseball and basketball in Chicago.

Happy Birthday, Mike.

Reliever Drew Storen turns 34 today.

Drew spent most of the 2016 season with the Jays after we traded Ben Revere to the Nationals to get him.

He had 6 good seasons with the Nationals, pitching in 355 games, with a 3.02 ERA and 95 saves. But he wasn’t so good with us, a 6.21 ERA in 38 games. So we traded him to the Mariners for Joaquin Benoit in July. Joaquin had a very nice finish to the 2016 season, allowing just 1 earned run in 25 games in his second-last MLB season.

Drew was ok with the Mariners, 3.44 ERA in 19 appearances. He signed with the Reds before the 2017 season, pitching in 55 games.

Career, he had a 3.45 ERA in 470 games with 99 saves.

Happy Birthday, Drew.