People say that Alex Anthopoulos has a tough job, but you want to know who really has a tough job? Whomever is in charge of planning the Toronto Blue Jays giveaways.
They somehow have to possess the foresight to predict who will be on the Blue Jays roster some six to eight months in advance. It truly is a tough task, one that must surely involve some sort of advanced prognostication skills.
What does this all have to do with Colby Rasmus? Well, some interesting events have transpired in the past week or so that could potentially signal a contract extension with the Blue Jays' centre fielder.
So let the conspiracy theories commence!
It all started just over a week ago when the Blue Jays sent out this tweet that Colby Rasmus had to cancel his appearance on the Winter Tour.
For those of you asking....Due to a scheduling conflict, Colby Rasmus can no longer attend the @BlueJays @TD_Canada #WinterTour.
— Blue Jays-Official (@BlueJays) January 4, 2014
Ordinarily, it wouldn't be all that much cause for concern, but considering that Colby Rasmus' contract status with the Blue Jays is somewhat in limbo, the tweet sparked rumours that Rasmus could be on the trade block.
Then a subsequent tweet by Colby's father Tony Rasmus added fuel to the fire (but has since been deleted). It insinuated that Colby was told he should be prepared to be traded this offseason. He later clarified that message was not from someone within the organization.
And yesterday the Blue Jays made a pair of perplexing announcements that may or may not be linked together; that two of the three bobblehead giveaways in 2014 would be Jose Reyes and R.A. Dickey, and that Colby Rasmus would be back on the Winter Tour.
First of all, why would they unveil two of the three players and not all three at once? Is the reason why the third is to be determined because the front office is waiting to finalize a potential contact extension or trade for a marquee player?
As innocent as it seems, it's just very curious that there's still one player who has yet to be announced as being immortalized in bobblehead form.
Secondly, why is it that suddenly Colby Rasmus is able to rejoin the Toronto Blue Jays Winter Tour again? I mean, from a fan's perspective that's great news ... but how is it that he suddenly was unavailable and then available again?
For those keeping track, Rasmus' arbitration deadline is this week, and is scheduled to appear in Mississauga the day after salary arbitration figures are exchanged (hat tip to @Minor_Leaguer for that one).
So the natural assumption with these new developments is that Colby is either in Toronto to hammer out contract details or it's to announce a new contract in person.
As we saw with Jose Bautista, contract negotiations can go all the way down to the eleventh hour. Just because the Blue Jays and Colby Rasmus can't come to an agreement this week, doesn't necessarily mean arbitration is a foregone conclusion.
Bluebird Banter has a full breakdown of the potential scenarios, but once the figures have been submitted this week, Colby Rasmus will either let the arbitrator decide his salary of the Blue Jays will table a multi-year contract.
The Blue Jays have instilled a club policy of not negotiating once the arbitration exchange deadline has passed, as indicated by Alex Anthopoulos in 2012:
"The policy hasn't changed. All one-year deals need to be completed by the exchange date. If not, the only way we avoid a hearing is a multiyear scenario."Keep in mind the Blue Jays haven't gone to arbitration with one of their players since 1997, the last one being Bill Risely some 17 years ago.
There's been a lot of debate this offseason as to whether or not the Blue Jays should sell high on Colby Rasmus or to table a contract extension, but I think these latest developments are indicative of a new deal rather than a trade.
Admittedly, a side effect of the Alex Anthopoulos era is a tendency to overthink things when really a simple explanation would suffice. Perhaps Colby Rasmus is back on the Winter Tour because whatever he was busy with (hunting, curling) is no longer an issue.
And here's a thought; the Blue Jays might be waiting to announce that third bobblehead giveaway as a Blue Jays alumni player, which will be voted on by the fans (that would be cool, right?).
However, the much more compelling storyline in all this is Colby Rasmus being back in Toronto to solidify a new contract extension and possibly be there for a press conference.
Maybe these conspiracy theories are just a byproduct of having little to no information to go on from AA himself, but this is what bloggers do during the offseason; hypothesize, speculate and come up with harebrained schemes to occupy themselves.
By the way ... is it Spring Training yet?