Blue Jays Trade For Colby Rasmus, Orioles Don’t

The Blue Jays put together a series of deal today, trading for Edwin Jackson and then flipping him to the Cardinals for Colby Rasmus. I looked a the trades for the Outside Corner:

“Cardinals:

Acquired: Jackson, reliever Octavio Dotel, and pitcher Marc Rzepczynski
Dealt: outfielder Colby Rasmus

I don’t know why the Card’s were pushing to trade Rasmus (besides whatever behind the scenes stuff he has going on with Tony La Russa). He’s a 24 year-old outfielder with a career .259/.334/.444 batting line. He walks. He hits for some power. He’s cut down on his strike-outs this year. He’s under team control through 2014. His center-field defense may leave a bit to be desired, but Rasmus seems like he’d hit well enough to play a corner with at least an average glove. That’s a player who’s not only good but (still) cheap.

Dotel has been fine out of the pen this year, and is a free agent. Rzepczynski seems like a decent back of the rotation arm in the NL (he’s been used as a reliever this year). Jackson ill obviously help the rotation as the Card’s go for the NL Central crown in 2011. But overall, it seems like the Cardinals improved themselves by maybe a couple wins this year at the cost of trading Rasmus for Rzepczynski in the longer term. And that doesn’t look like a particularly good deal to me.

Blue Jays:

Acquired: Colby Rasmus
Dealt: Zach Stewart, Jason Frasor, Octavio Dotel, and Marc Rzepczynski

The Jays basically used three relievers to upgrade from a 24 year-old pitcher with 3 career major league starts (with a 4.86 ERA) to a 24 year-old outfielder with 385 major league games under his belt who’s already established himself as an above average player. Seems good.”

Edit: There have been more pieces added on both sides (including Corey Patterson going to St. Louis), but the basis is still there.

The trade reminds me of the Yunel Escobar deal from last year, where the Jays upgraded by moving Alex Gonzalez. Not that more evidence was really needed, but it cements the idea that the O’s front office is just well behind their AL East competition. Could the Birds have made this deal, given that the cost turned out much lower than expected? I think so.

Edwin Jackson vs. Jeremy Guthrie

Jackson is obviously better, but the Card’s would get to keep Guthrie for next year.

Octavio Dotel vs. Koji Uehara

Koji is obviously better, plus the Card’s would probably get to keep him for next year.

Marc Rzepczynski vs. someone (Brad Bergesen maybe)

The former is probably better, but it’s not exactly a significant difference.

So would Guthrie + Koji + Bergesen (plus maybe some minor piece if needed) for Rasmus be a good deal? You bet.

Guthrie has around $2 M in excess value for 2011 and 2012 (assuming he falls of some but his salary goes up in his last arbitration year). Koji is in a similar boat (assuming his vesting option kicks in). Maybe add another $2 M or so for Bergesen (just because he’s still so cheap) and change. That’s ~$6 M in excess value. If Rasmus is even a 2 win player going forward (and he hit 4.3 fWAR last year), you’re looking at $14+ M in value. And if he bounces back into the 3.5-4 range next year, it could easily be twice that. That is just way to good of a deal to turn down, and I’d hope that Andy MacPhail actually made the call to see if he could get it done.