Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Inevitable End of the Road for Colby Ramsus

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When Colby Rasmus' time with the Toronto Blue Jays inevitably comes to an end, this will likely be his footnote; "he had a world of potential, but for one reason or another ... Colby just couldn't put it all together."

It may sound as though Rasmus is already out the door, but essentially he is. John Lott of the National Post discovered that Colby Rasmus will likely ride the bench for the remainder of the season, and will give way to playing time for Anthony Gose and Kevin Pillar.

It's just the final chapter in what has been a tumultuous plight for Colby Rasmus as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Colby is set to walk as a free agent at season's end, and judging by the comments that were made to him from manager John Gibbons, the instructions come from the front office to leave him out of the starting lineup the past few games.

To me, that's the most puzzling part of all; that this is not John Gibbons' decision, but it came all the way from the top - Alex Anthopoulos.

In the past, this organization was fairly courteous (albeit unnecessarily) to would-be free agents, and would allow them to play out the stretch and potentially build some value for their next contract. Remember John Buck's chase for 20 home runs?

However, the new compensation system for free agents combined with the Blue Jays still having a remote chance at the playoffs, that means letting Colby play out the season is apparently not an option this time around.

I still have a tough time believing that the combination of Kevin Pillar and Anthony Gose in centre field give the Blue Jays give a better chance to win than Colby Rasmus, but it gives the team just another reason not to play Rasmus.

Jeff Blair has mentioned this a few times in his show earlier this week, but he believes that Colby Rasmus is not just tired of the Blue Jays, but that Rasmus has checked out of baseball entirely. I'm not sure if I'd go quite that far, but it's apparent this season has taken a toll on him.

The thing is, Colby Rasmus has never been an "in your face" kind of baseball player; his personality is extremely laid back, and his demeanor is the exact same whether he's hit a home run or whether he's struck out.

That's a stark contrast from guys like Jose Reyes or Brett Lawrie who are clearly excited and amped up about playing baseball. Not surprisingly, many would say that Reyes and Lawrie display more effort or "hustle" on the field compared to Rasmus.

When baseball players (and even athletes in general) tend to display the laissez-faire attitude, often times they're labelled as being lazy or simply not caring about their job. With some athletes, it's clearly evident how much effort they put forth on the field. With others, it just comes naturally.

I think Colby Rasmus falls into the latter camp ... not unlike former Blue Jay, Alex Rios.

He was also accused of displaying many of the same traits as Rasmus; having all the skills to become a five-tool superstar, and yet failing to display hustle and suffering from the occasional mental lapse on the field.

Since the decision came from up top, I'm inclined to think there's more going on behind the scenes. Colby showing up late to batting practice a few months back and the subsequent punishment may not have been the first incident.

To me, it seems like Colby Rasmus' up-and-down- tenure with the Toronto Blue Jays has been quite similar to Brandon Morrow's; both were acquired via trade and came in with lofty hopes, but have overall failed to deliver on those expectations.

At one point, both players were viewed as building blocks for this franchise moving forward, and now both Rasmus and Morrow will likely walk out the door at the end of the season.

Again, there's no denying the talent of Colby Rasmus. At times, his home run swing appears absolutely effortless. Tracking down fly balls in second field seems second nature to Colby, as he barely even breaks a sweat.

And although his batting stance has undergone many iterations over the years, he's still managed to hit around league average. And perhaps that's part of it, too; that Colby has had umpteen voices telling him to do different things.

Over the course of his six year career, Colby Rasmus has played for four different managers and has had five different hitting coaches. Talk about receiving mixed messages.

Had it not been for an errant throw by Anthony Gose which landed squarely in Colby Rasmus' face late last season, perhaps the Blue Jays tabled Colby a contract extension last offseason and we're not even having this discussion.

After all, Colby Rasmus was on track to have the best year of his career; statistically speaking, Rasmus was a Top 5 centre fielder in the American League last season. That would've set him up quite nicely as he entered his final year of arbitration.

But now ... it's anybody's guess where Colby will ultimately land.

I don't doubt that Colby Rasmus will be a star centre fielder once again ... unfortunately, it just won't be with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Image courtesy of Abelimages Getty Images Sport

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