Eleven years ago today:
The Blue Jays traded for Colby Rasmus.
It was a trade in two acts.
The Jays traded veteran reliever Jason Frasor and prospect Zach Stewart to the White Sox for pitcher Edwin Jackson and almost Canadian Mark Teahen (his father was born in Ontario, and Teahan played for Canada in the 2009 WBC).
Teahan would finish out the season with the Jays. He hit .190/.261/.286 in 27 games, which would be the end of his MLB career.
Frasor would find his way back to the Blue Jays for the 2012 season. From there, he played for the Rangers, Royals, and Braves before retiring after the 2015 season. Frasor holds the franchise record for most games pitched at 505 (his record is safe for the foreseeable future).
Stewart turned out to be a bust. He pitched a total of 103 MLB innings, with a 6.82 ERA.
Within a couple of hours of the first trade, Jackson and Octavio Dotel, Corey Patterson, and Marc Rzepczynski were on their way to St. Louis for Colby, Trever Miller, Brian Tallet, and P.J. Walters.
The Cards wanted to shore up their bullpen, and their manager Tony La Russa had grown tired of Ramus. Colby is, I don’t know the correct term to use. I guess unique would be as good as any. His personality and La Russa’s were as different as two people could get. La Russa was never shy in giving his opinion about Colby, and Colby wasn’t the type who could ignore insults.
The trade was about buying low on a talented player for Alex Anthopoulos.
Jackson went 5-2 with a 3.58 ERA in 12 Cardinal starts after the trade. He made four starts in the playoffs, going 1-1 with a 5.60 ERA in 17.2 innings. After the season, he signed with the Nationals as a free agent. Since then, he played for the Cubs, Braves, Marlins, Padres, Orioles, Nationals again and a very successful stint with the Blue Jays (let me have my delusions) (Editor’s noter: that’s one massive delusion). We released him mid-season, and the Tigers picked him up, and he was equally successful with them. That was the end of his 17-year MLB career.
Dotel with the Cardinals had a 3.28 ERA in 29 games. After the season, he signed with the Tigers and had a good 2012 season, but he was out of baseball after a rough start to 2013.
Rzepczynski, or Scrabble, as we called him, had a 3.97 ERA in 28 games, for the Cards, in 2011. He played there in 2012, then had a bad start to the 2013 season, and they traded him to Cleveland. After that, he went to the Padres, A’s, Nationals, Mariners, and Cleveland again. He last played in the majors in 2018.
Patterson was not one of my favourite Blue Jays. He didn’t do anything well, didn’t hit much (.287 OBP at the time of the trade), his defence in left was interesting (we have a history of left fielders who couldn’t play the position), nor was he a great base runner (13 steals, caught 8 times). And he had this thing about swinging at pitches over his head (though once in a blue moon, he’d connect). Yet people liked him more than Edwin Encarnacion at the time. Corey hit .157/.189/.235 in 44 games, for the Cardinals, after the trade, and that would be the end of his MLB career.
And Colby, well, you know. He didn’t become a star, but he was decent for us. In 4 seasons, he played 408 games, hitting .234/.295/.433 with 66 home runs. His best season was 2013, hitting .276/.338/.501 with 22 home runs.
I was a fan, but then I like guys that are square pegs in a round hole world. So I’ll always have a soft spot for him. He seemed like someone who couldn’t always deal with the pressures and constant criticism of being a major league baseball player but was a good guy at heart.
After the trade, DanUpBaby, from Viva El Birdos send us an operating manual for Colby. I found this to be true:
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.
As time went on, we got little looks into his personality. I enjoyed that. The various hairstyles I enjoyed less.
Since leaving the Jays after the 2014 season, Colby played two years with the Astros and started the 2017 season with the Rays but left them mid-season. He started the 2018 season with the Orioles but retired in July. This one seems to have taken. I hope he is happy now.