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Rumor: Cardinals Interested In Trading Colby Rasmus To Rays

From MLBTradeRumors:

The Cardinals "might reconsider [their] stance" on trading center fielder Colby Rasmus, reports Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  He adds that GM John Mozeliak "would have to acquire a significant return for Rasmus but may be willing to plumb long-standing interest from the pitching-rich Tampa Bay Rays."

Call me crazy, but I don't see the match. Rasmus is a great player, but he's essentially a slightly cheaper version of B.J. Upton. He hits for a low average (around .250), walks a bunch (11% of the time), and hits for a moderate amount of power (23 homeruns last year; .170 ISO this season). His defense gets mixed reviews from the defensive stats -- though the popular consensus is that he's a decent defender -- but he's a sure bet to post a 3.0 WAR season each year. Sound similar? So why would the Rays trade a starting pitcher to acquire a duplicate of a player they already own?

Rasmus has two advantages over Upton: he's two years younger, and he's under team control for three more seasons. Of course, he's entering arbitration and could still get a hefty payday, but he would still be cheaper than Upton next season.

Would Rasmus be a great player to acquire? Sure, but I don't think the Rays are going to be willing to pay as much as the Cardinals will want. They're looking for a "significant return" -- James Shields was brought up later in the article on MLBTR -- and it would be rather silly for the Rays to give up a big package to acquire another outfielder. They have prospects Desmond Jennings and Brandon Guyer waiting to take over in the outfield, so it's not as though they're in desperate need of centerfield help right now.

If the Cardinals were willing to deal Rasmus for cheap -- say, Jeff Niemann -- then I'd be all for it. But if they expect to get Shields or Matt Moore, they can start looking elsewhere. As we stated yesterday, the Rays are in the driver's seat this trade deadline; they have lots of depth and no pressing need to trade anyone, meaning they can be choosy about making trades.

Sorry Cards, you're not going to pry any top pitchers away from the Rays. Nice try, though.