The Colby Rasmus trade has been done, and now it is up to each of us to come to terms with it. Some will like it, others won’t, but does any of that really matter ? The deal is done and it is what it is.
Even though he struggled for most of 2011, Trever Miller gave Cardinals fans two solid seasons, one of those being a career year for the veteran lefty (2009). While a member of the Tampa bullpen, we learned about his daughter, Grace, and that story has touched all of our lives. Running marathons to bring attention to special needs children make him seem much taller than his 6ft 3in frame that we have seen on the mound. Cardinals Nation is a better place because of him passing through our community, so we wish the entire Miller family the best in whatever the future holds.
Along similar lines, I am sad to see PJ Walters leave the Cardinals organization. After a tragic start to his 2010 season, Walters went back to work, and put himself in a position to make it back to the big leagues. Not only that, news of another child on the way for the young Walters couple puts a smile on the faces of all who cried last April when Annabelle Grace finally gave up her gallant fight. It’s not just PJ, you have to like the whole Walters family. His dad is on twitter and occasionally offers words of encouragement. My favorite was Monday night, when PJ gave up a grand slam to Carlos Lee. The elder Walters said, “Son, you don’t have to be perfect, but you have to be better than that.”
Memphis broadcaster Steve Selby points out how hard Walters works between starts, and that’s the kind of thing we like to see in our extended Cardinals family. Like the Miller’s, we wish the best for the Walters and hope PJ has a long and productive career.
Yesterday, I shared some views on Colby Rasmus, and none of that changes today. He is no longer a member of the Cardinals, so there is no point going over his career, laboriously analyzing good things or bad things as an attorney does while presenting a case. None of that matters any more. Similarly, it doesn’t matter what he does in the future – he may or may not have been able to do those while a member of the Cardinals. What does it hurt for either side of the Rasmus Divide to wish him a long and productive career ?
I will miss watching him run the bases. I will not miss all of the ravenous attention the media gave to the drama of his short career. He played some excellent baseball while a member of the Cardinals, and that’s good enough for me. Good luck young Rasmus, show the fans in Toronto what you are capable of.
Edwin Jackson is not exactly the starting pitcher that I had hoped a prospect like Colby Rasmus might fetch, but he is a proven innings eater, and that’s what the Cardinals need very badly right now. He is a talented pitcher that can throw some absolute heat. Perhaps a session or two with Dave Duncan will turn him into the pitcher that everybody thinks he can be. Now only does he help our bullpen by taking off some load, his addition allows Kyle McClellan to go back to the bullpen, where has has pitched so effectively the last three years. Not bad when a single player can help two parts of the team. So welcome, Mr. Jackson. May you be the next Dave Duncan success story.
Octavio Dotel is an interesting addition. He still throws hard, and is effective against right handed batters, not so much against the lefties. A former closer, he might be the next Russ Springer as an alternative to Lance Lynn in the eighth inning. He also adds some right handed depth to the bullpen, which can lead to more speculation about the future of Jason Motte or Mitchell Boggs before the trade deadline expires.
With all of the woes from the left side of the bullpen, Cardinals Nation should welcome Marc Rzepczynski with open arms. He is exactly what the Cardinals farm system has been unable to produce, a quality young left handed reliever. And he could be in the bullpen for many years to come. Even before he throws his first pitch, the Cardinals bullpen has become much stronger, and if he is anything like his numbers suggest, fans will be able to enjoy the late innings, rather live in fear of them. Welcome Mr. Rzepczynski. It may take us a while to pronounce your name correctly, but we will cheer you enthusiastically while you wear the Cardinals uniform.
We will even welcome former Cub and Reds outfielder, Corey Patterson. Trading Colby Rasmus does create a bit of outfield depth problems, especially at center field. Jon Jay will be a fine replacement for Rasmus, and Patterson can fill in for all three positions. His batting statistics don’t make you drop your jaw in awe, but they are probably better than we would get if we called up Andrew Brown, Shane Robinson or Adron Chambers into an infrequent platoon role – remember Allen Craig ?
Time to go win
The trade has been made, and now it is time to turn our attention to the remainder of the 2011 schedule. That means two more games with the Astros followed by a weekend series with the Cubs. Then will come the big test as we get a home and away series with the Milwaukee Brewers. We will learn a lot about our new and improved Cardinals over those six game. I like our chances better today than I did yesterday.
So let’s go win the NL Central, and see how far the team can go in post-season. Who is with me ?