Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Tag Archives: fights

Colby Rasmus is (not?) JD Drew

I don’t want to talk about the team today. I did plenty of that yesterday over at i70baseball, and everything I said then still stands – the team needs to quit playing at the level of their opponent.

Based on the title, you can see I’ve been bouncing around an idea in my head. It started yesterday morning, when I saw that someone (I apologize that I do not remember who or where) had made a statement to the extent of ‘perhaps Colby Rasmus is becoming somewhat of a JD Drew type.’ I almost spilled my cereal because I was upset at just the thought of that.

Let me rewind for those of you that need a refresher course: Drew was drafted in the 1st round of the 1997 draft by the Phillies, but did not sign, instead choosing to play in the Northern League for a year (I did not know the whole saga about that – now I do). The Cardinals then drafted Drew again in the first round of the 1998 draft, and he did sign (For those that want to know, yes, his agent is Scott Boras). Drew received an insane bonus of $3 million and major league contract worth $7 million.

Yes, he did appear to be just that good. Drew spent almost no time in the minors and was already in St. Louis for a September cup of coffee by the end of the ’98 season. In his rookie year of 1999 he was installed as the center fielder and played in 104 games, putting up a good-but-not-great line of .242/.340/.424. He was projected to be a star. He was supposed to be the next big thing. He had a long way to go.

His 2000 season showed a climb – playing in 135 games and hitting .295/.401/.479, tossing in 18 HR and 57 RBI just for good measure. His next three seasons are where it starts to get painful for me. Drew did not go a full year in St. Louis without landing on the disabled list for one reason or another. Leg, arm, shoulder, whatever… he had it, and it wasn’t working the way it was supposed to. Eventually Tony LaRussa quit making excuses and started saying what he really thought. In the book Three Nights in August, Tony is quoted as saying that Drew decided to “settle for 75%” of his talent. Fans turned on Drew, referring to him as ‘Nancy Drew,’ ‘DL Drew’ or ‘AH (Always Hurt) Drew.’ Ouch.

After the 2003 season the Cardinals sent Drew (along with Eli Marrero) packing to Atlanta, in exchange for Jason Marquis, Ray King, and some skinny minor league pitcher named Adam Wainwright (Think the Cards won that deal?). This was the first deal I remember vividly, and I was absolutely excited. Drew is the first player I really just did not like. Support? Yes, I supported him. He wore the birds on the bat. But like Todd Wellemeyer in 2009, I just did not like him. He copped an attitude, was always injured, and just never played up to that star potential, at least not while he was in St. Louis. I spent all of middle school and some of my high school years as well just disliking everything about JD Drew.

I don’t want Colby Rasmus to be JD Drew redux.

If it wasn’t obvious before yesterday that Colby and LaRussa just do not get along, it is crystal clear now. On his radio show yesterday morning, LaRussa stated that Colby needs to do more than show up – he has to play well. He is streaky, gets homer happy, and sometimes does not play smart baseball. In the same hour TLR made a comparison to Jon Jay, noting that Jay positions himself better in the outfield, takes better routes to the ball, adjusts better to pitchers adjusting to him, and despite Rasmus having better raw talent, Jay is farther along in playing all aspects of the game.

I’m not talking about Jay here, so move past that. Tony is obviously frustrated with Rasmus right now, so much so that after originally listing him in the lineup for yesterday’s game, he changed his mind and pulled Colby out, instead shifting Jay over to center, moving Skip Schumaker into right and dropping Aaron Miles in at second. At first when I found out about the switch I had thought it was that Colby was just not quite ready to play yet from his injured calf that has been bothering him for the better part of the last two weeks. It was then passed through Twitter by Matthew Leach and Joe Strauss (among others) that the switch was made because of a manager’s decision.

Yikes. That is not a good sign for the young (okay fine, he’s the same age as me) center fielder. Now my wheels are spinning. Over the course of two hours, I pondered every possible excuse I could for Colby, then promptly blew holes in every one of them. I didn’t want to, but it happened.

  1. Colby spent three+ full years in the minors. For a potential star, that is not too small of a number. If he was that good, three years isn’t horrible. However, no college baseball. There’s a big jump from high school to the majors. Could a player make that jump in three years? Sure. He obviously did. But LaRussa states over and over again that teaching doesn’t happen at the major league level, and Colby seems to still need a bit of training sometimes.
  2. Colby has the skills. His home runs go a long way (I saw his 483′ bomb in Kansas City first hand – ridiculously far), he’s quick on the bases (yet doesn’t steal… WHY?!), he makes some nice catches in the outfield… and he strikes out a lot, has been caught stealing one third of the time, and is currently running in the negatives on zone rating in the outfield.
  3. Colby is a team… okay I can’t even finish that one. I don’t think he is a team player. I’m starting to feel like he cops an attitude. I understand being frustrated, but after being inserted as a pinch hitter last week after it was made clear by TLR/staff before the game that he was unavailable, Rasmus stated that he didn’t know why he was thrust in the game, dropping a lovely, “I just work here,” line. The word ‘entitlement’ was dropped about things like that, and I think I’m starting to agree. Please please PLEASE, do not let me start seeing mentions of Colby faking injuries while trying to get out of the lineup. I don’t want that at all.

 

The opinions are out there. Some argue Colby would be better off with a different manager and consistent playing time. Others think he needs to be sent packing via trade in the offseason. Honestly? Right now I just want him to get healthy and play. He needs to play like he knows how, and do the things he does well. He has yet to arrive in the bigs. His numbers are good-not-great, and he has the potential to be great.

Another thing – Colby, quit waiting for Tony to pat you on the head. It will not happen. Brendan figured it out, and he is finally playing better. Affirmation rocks, but Tony doesn’t give it. But whatever happens, please do not turn into another JD Drew.

Thanks to friend of the CDD Bob for bouncing this idea around with me yesterday afternoon. He definitely helped me get the dots connected for this piece. If you haven’t read Bob’s stuff, head over here to his blog, or look for his premiere post on i70baseball.com tomorrow!
Also, if you want a second opinion on this subject, azruavatar has a different perspective over on Viva El Birdos… link here! Dan Moore also takes a crack at the top five TLR Clubhouse Rifts… not pretty.

Words? Meet Actions

I wish I could say that I didn’t see the start of this week’s ‘feud’ (for lack of a better term) between the Reds and Cardinals coming awhile ago. I didn’t really see this exactly, but I wasn’t surprised either.


Okay, I’ll explain. I’ve been out of the loop here for a couple of weeks, so bear with me as I knock some cobwebs out…

That slide is a long way away from home plate.
Photo by Ang

July 28 – Reds at Brewers. Brandon Phillips hit a long grand slam in a 10-2 drubbing of the brew crew. I caught an interview the next morning on Sportscenter with Phillips, and when asked how far he thought the home run had gone, his response was something along the lines of ‘500 feet! Woo! The guys were teasing me in the dugout, saying I had embarrassed them. But man, I hit that a long way!’ I apologize for not being able to track down said interview, but trust me, you didn’t miss much. It was quite a blast – hitting off of Bernie Brewer’s slide in left field and measured at 450 feet, not quite the 500 that one of our newest ‘friends’ of the CDD had predicted, but still a solid piece of hitting.


I shook my head at the interview, because I knew that there would not be kind words said about Phillips up here in the land of cheese. Needless to say, I was correct. Brewer fans are frustrated with how their season has played out to say the least, but having an opposing player mouth off did not sit well with anyone I know around here. I wasn’t feeling the love for Phillips myself, but at the time, despite my beginning a feeling of dislike of the player, I took solace in the fact that he wasn’t talking about my team.


Oh how things change. I’m not going to say that Phillips started a fire in the Cardinals, because I don’t want to give him that much credit. He absolutely doesn’t deserve it.


I will say I like the response the Cardinals have made over the last two days. I think the team has a fairly good tradition of letting their actions speak louder than words. There haven’t been a lot of ‘big talkers’ for the Cardinals over the years. You could look at players like a Bob Gibson, who made statements, but we never had a Rickey Henderson or Reggie Jackson, stirring up trouble and talking big to the media. Reach back to the Gas House Gang of the 1930’s and you’ll find such crazy personalities as Dizzy Dean, Leo Durocher and  Pepper Martin, who talked loud and played louder, backing up every one of their crazy ideas with results. However, it took me 80 years of baseball history to get to some major Cardinal blabbermouths. I’m okay with that.


Last night’s melee began when Phillips tapped Yadier Molina’s shin guard before the game. I hadn’t really heard of this or noticed it before last night, but apparently it’s a greeting of some sort between hitters and catchers. Yadi rightly took offense and snapped at Phillips, and it escalated from there. BJ Rains had a quote from Yadi here, where we read,

“I was ready to start the game and he touched me,” Molina said. “With the comment that he made yesterday that he’s got no friends over here, why you touch me then? You are not my friend so don’t touch me. That’s exactly what I said. If we are not good for you, then you are not my friend.” 

I couldn’t agree more. Why would you say, ‘I hate the Cardinals’ (among other things), then walk in the box and try to say, ‘Hey man, let’s have a good game.’ Not okay. But you know what? Yadi settled it on the field. Not in the papers, not in the post-game. He walked to the plate in his next at bat after the scuffle and blasted a home run over the wall. The same could be said for Ryan Franklin, who shut Phillips down in the 9th after saying that the comments weren’t worth talking about, as well as Skip Schumaker, who dropped a grand slam over the wall Monday night and said after the game that he wasn’t sure why anyone would say something like that.


When the Cardinal players heard about the comments that were made against them, most of them didn’t have much of a response. They kept their comments to themselves (at least as far as the media is concerned) and just said, ‘We’ll settle it on the field.’ They did, putting up 7 runs Monday night and 8 more last night. I love that, because I’d rather see runs on the scoreboard and wins in the standings than a war of words that are not backed up by solid play.


Game 3 starts early – 11:35 this morning! Let’s finish this shall we? Before I go, I did want to leave our newest friend with a note…

That looks like it hurt! Poor baby!
Jim Prisching – AP Photo

Dear Mr. Phillips,
You said you would play against the Cards on one leg. To us, it’s looking like both your legs are working. Your bat, however, is having some issues. Your mouth might also be in need of a bar of soap, courtesy of your friendly neighborhood Diamond Diary ladies. Please wash, rinse, and repeat. Thanks for playing, and feel free to keep that nice 1 for 10 stretch over the past two days going until October. Then you can talk all you want from the comfort of your own home.


October is for people whose actions speak louder than words.

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