Colby Rasmus

Image Source: Doug Benc/Getty Images North America

July 27, 2011: Cardinals Trade Colby Rasmus To Bolster Pitching

On this day in 2011, the Cardinals traded Colby Rasmus for starting pitcher Edwin Jackson, relief pitchers Octavio Dotel and Marc Rzepczynski, outfielder Corey Patterson, and future considerations (players to be named later or cash). In addtion to Rasmus, the Cardinals also gave up pitchers P.J. Walters, Trever Miller and Brian Tallet.

This trade is still debated by fans five years later. At the time, Rasmus was one of only a couple minor league position prospects the Cardinals had developed that had much success at the MLB level. He also looked like he had the highest ceiling of any of the young Cardinals players at the time. He had just come off a 4.0 WAR season in 2010. He was slumping in 2011 though. A lot of people questioned trading such a good cost-controlled player for basically rental pitching for a stretch run. The idea was that the Cardinals needed more cost-controlled players like this, not fewer. The salaries of the older players were only going to go up. At the time of course it was assumed the Cardinals would re-sign Albert Pujols, Yadier Molina and others.

In addition, a lot of people felt Tony La Russa was pushing out a very good player simply because he didn’t get along with him for some reason (and his dad Tony Rasmus). La Russa was an old school manager, occasionally making established stars such as Rasmus, Scott Rolen and others earn their playing time. They’d occasionally get benched in favor of a player itching to get a chance, like Jon Jay. This happened to Rasmus several times in 2011, when Rasmus was slumping. Jay played well and started to take center field from Rasmus. Jay’s play is another reason the Cardinals were able to make this trade.

In hindsight, the trade looks good. The Cardinals went on to win the World Series and Colby Rasmus’ struggles continued for the rest of 2011 and all of 2012. Since then Rasmus had good seasons in 2013 and 2015, and another injury-shortened poor season in 2014.

So which side is right and which is wrong? I believe that intangibles are important. I think the feud with La Russa was a detriment to the team. I understand where the people were coming from who were thinking long-term, and knew La Russa may not have many years left as manager, anyway (of course, he didn’t). At the time I thought it was the right move, but just barely.

My view on it though was partially affected by some of the players I saw coming up through the Cardinals’ minor league system. I felt that some of these players I saw in the minors were going to make it to the big leagues in the coming years and be able to contribute. At that time Shelby Miller and Matt Adams were already at double-A Springfield, for example.

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Colby Rasmus

The 2006 Midwest League All Star Game

I’m highlighting Colby Rasmus in this post because I have the best pictures of him. However, 8 future MLB players did appear in this game.
Colby played 78 games for the Swing of the Quad Cities in 2006. He hit 11 HR and 22 doubles in 341 plate apperances and had a .884 OPS. Pretty impressive numbers for a 19 year old! He’s been a productive MLB player, playing in over 800 games so far and with a career OPS over .750. He was National League Player of the Week for the week of June 6, 2010 and he hit a career best 23 HR for the Blue Jays in 2012.
Roth being interviewed after winning HR Derby

Roth being interviewed after winning HR Derby

The Swing hosted this All-Star game in 2006, and Colby represented the home team in it along with Jaime Garcia, another future Cardinals player, and a couple other players. Colby also hit in the Home Run Derby the day Randy Roth, won the home run derby. Other future MLB players who played in this game were
before the game. However, another Swing player,
Jay Bruce
Will Venable
Adam Moore
Wade Davis
Johnny Cueto
Justin Upton
Nick Adenhart

Yes, that is the same Nick Adenhart that played 4 games for the Angels and tragically died in a car accident in 2009. He was the starting pitcher in this game for the West, and he went 1 inning and allowed 1 run. Jaime Garcia took the loss in this game, giving up 3 runs in the inning he pitched.

Jay Bruce

Photo from Quad City Times

The East won the game over the West by a score of 7-1. Colby went 2 for 4, and Roth went 1 for 2. Here is a recap of the game from the Quad City Times. You can see Jay Bruce homered, and Justin Upton had a good game:

Quad City Times: Midwest League All-Star Game Scoreboard

EAST FIRST: Justin Upton (South Bend) doubled, took third on a groundout by Jay Bruce (Dayton), scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Jeff Baisley (Kane County). Cory Patton (Lansing) struck out. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 left. East 1-0.
WEST FIRST: Tarrence Patterson (Beloit) singled, was caught stealing. Paul Kelly (Beloit) struck out. Colby Rasmus (Quad-Cities) doubled, scored when Randy Roth (Quad-Cities) doubled to left. Ryan Norwood (Peoria) grounded out. 1 run, 3 hits, 0 errors, 1 left. Tied 1-1.
EAST THIRD: Upton struck out. Bruce singled, stole second. Baisley struck out. Patton singled, scoring Bruce. Anthony Recker (Kane County) reached on an infield single, advancing Patton. Kyle Blanks (Fort Wayne) singled to left, scoring Patton, advancing Recker. Daryl Jones (Fort Wayne) singled to left, scoring Recker, advancing Jones. Michael Hollimon (W. Michigan) struck out. 3 runs, 5 hits, 0 errors, 2 left. East 4-1.
EAST SEVENTH: Bruce doubled. Eric Eymann (Dayton) walked. Bruce stole third. Will Venable (Fort Wayne) struck out. Eymann stole second. Bruce scored on a sacrifice fly by Craig Tatum (Dayton). Eymann was thrown out attempting to take third. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 left. East 5-1.
EAST NINTH: Upton walked, stole second, scored when Bruce homered to right. Eymann popped out. Venable struck out. Tatum flew out. 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 0 left. East 7-1.

Box Score of the game on MiLB.com

Some additional pictures:

2006 Midwest League All Star Game

Players signing autographs before the game

Colby Rasmus 2006 Midwest League All Star Game

Colby Rasmus batting in the Home Run Derby

Ronald Garth, Adam Moore, Jeff Dominguez, Casey Craig, and Edgar Guaramato

Not sure on the order, but the Rattlers were represented by Ronald Garth, Adam Moore, Jeff Dominguez, Casey Craig, and Edgar Guaramato

Johnny Cueto Dayton Dragons

April 20, 2006 – Dayton Dragons @ Swing of the Quad Cities

The Dragons won this early season game 8-4. Three future MLB players appeared in this one:

Johnny Cueto Dayton Dragons

Photo from MiLB.com

Johnny Cueto
Jay Bruce
Colby Rasmus

The game was tied 2-2 until the 6th inning, when the Dragons rallied for 6 runs. The Swing scored 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th but that was it. As is normally the case, these future MLB players usually have a good game when I see them. Johnny Cueto threw 5 innings and gave up 2 ER. He struck out 7, walked 2 and allowed a home run to Colby Rasmus. Colby had 1 other hit besides the home run, and was 2 for 5. This was Rasmus’ first HR on the season. Meanwhile, Jay Bruce homered for the Dragons. He had a big game going 2 for 4 with 4RBI and 2R.

Jay Bruce Dayton Dragons

Photo from Bus Leagues Baseball

Cueto went 8-1 for the Dragons in 2006 at age 20. He had a 2.59 ERA and .878 WHIP. He threw 76.1 innings before moving up to the Sarasota Reds. Cueto also threw a rain-shortened no-hitter that year, and had a 19 inning scoreless streak. Wish I could have seen the no-hitter because I still haven’t seen one.

Bruce played in 117 games for the Dragons at age 19. He hit 16HR and had a .871 OPS. He also had 81RBI and 69R, which are pretty big numbers for 117 games. Here is a nice bio from back in the day and also where I got the picture from.

I’ll be talking more about Rasmus in other posts becuase as a home team player, I saw him play a ton. He probably deserves his own separate post. I also have some pictures of my own to share.