Colby Rasmus Could Be the Ultimate Lottery Ticket
By David Hill
Now that free agency is officially underway, the focus of the Kansas City Royals is expected to turn towards finding replacements for James Shields and Nori Aoki. While there may be free agent starting pitchers available that could be a fit for the Royals, like Ervin Santana, there does not appear to be that same fit in right.
Maybe it is time to look outside the right field spectrum. After all, Lorenzo Cain has proven to be a capable right fielder of his own right, and could move over. However, the center field market is even thinner than that of right, with Colby Rasmus as the best available player on the market.
Normally, the concept of Rasmus being the best available player at his position would be as frightening as Kansas City without barbecue. Yet, there is no denying Rasmus’s talent. He has three seasons with over 20 home runs, and is just one year removed from posting a .276/.338/.501 batting line with 22 home runs. For a team that could use a power bat, Rasmus could certainly be an intriguing player.
Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to know which Colby Rasmus that a team would end up getting in free agency. Sandwiched around that solid 2013 season, Rasmus produced a .223/.289/.400 batting line in 2012 and a .225/.287/.448 batting line in 2014. Yes, Rasmus hits for power, but he is also dramatically consistent in his inconsistency.
That inconsistency has also extended to the defensive side. Rasmus had been worth seven defensive runs saved in 2012 and eleven defensive runs saved in 2013, but finished the 2014 season having cost the Blue Jays seven runs in center. In fact, aside from his rookie year, 2012 and 2013 were the only seasons that Rasmus was actually worth positive runs saved.
Continuing those warning signs, one also must pause when looking at Colby Rasmus’s strikeout rates. As a team, the Royals, who pride themselves on their ability to make contact, struck out a total of 985 times last year. Only Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain struck out more than 100 times. Rasmus, meanwhile, struck out 124 times in only 376 plate appearances.
Essentially, the Royals would need to determine whether or not the potential on the field pitfalls for Rasmus, as well as his allegedly difficult personality, are worth the possible power that he could provide. Rasmus, when right, could be the power bat that the Royals would look to slot with Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon in the middle of the lineup. However, when he is not, Rasmus can be truly painful to watch.
Colby Rasmus could be worth a look as a possible lottery ticket, a 29 year old power hitter who could be worthwhile on a one or two year deal. Anything beyond that may be far too much. Rasmus would be the ultimate boom or bust signing for the Royals.