The Toronto Blue Jays re-signed centre fielder Colby Rasmus to a one-year $4.675 million contract on Monday solidifying the team’s outfield for the upcoming 2013 season. Now the only question is which version of the Rasmus will Jays fans see once things get going in April?
The 26-year-old hit 23 home runs and set a career high with 75 RBI’s in 2012, but the Rasmus Jays fans saw in the first half of the season was drastically different from the player they saw in the second half.
In the Jays first 86 games Rasmus hit .259 with 17 HR’s and 53 RBI’s yet in the final 66 games of season he had an abysmal .176 batting average while hitting just six home runs and 22 RBI’s.
There is plenty of potential upside to Rasmus’ offensive game, but it’s hard to find or see a place for him within the Jays lineup this season that will allow him to make the most of his at bats and put up consistent numbers. In 2012 Rasmus found quite a bit of success hitting between Brett Lawrie and Jose Bautista in the No. 2 spot of the Jays batting order but on this new look Jays team it seems Rasmus will likely fall into the six or seven hole of the batting order meaning no protection from the Jays biggest slugger.
And that said a one-year deal for a starting centre fielder doesn’t come off as the most “confident” signing and though Anthony Gose likely won’t win the job from Rasmus this season if Rasmus struggles and Gose can find a way to improve his numbers at the plate the Jays prospect could find himself starting in centre field in 2014.
It’s hard to point to one specific reason for why Jays fans saw two different versions of Colby Rasmus in 2012 and it’s impossible to know whether he’ll have more success lower in the lineup without the pressure or fold knowing that he’s no longer being relied upon or looked at as of an important piece of the franchise in the future. But one thing’s for sure while his time in Toronto may be running out, Colby Rasmus has plenty to prove to the rest of the league in 2013.