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MLB Trade Rumors: Should the Cardinals Trade Outfielder Colby Rasmus?

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It was reported recently that the Cardinals and Rays had extensive trade discussion involving Cardinals outfielder Colby Rasmus last season. I remember there was talk that the Cardinals may trade him last year, but there was never a team mentioned in any of the rumors. At least, none that I recall. Now we know which team had interest in Rasmus, and it appears they were very interested.

It is well known that he and manager Tony LaRussa do not see eye to eye, and it appears his performance may be sufferering as a result. This season, Rasmus is hitting just .246-.329-.413 with 9 HRs, 35 RBIs, 56 runs, and 5 SBs. He has disappointed Cardinals fans and fantasy owners this season as many expected him to build on his 2010 season where he hit .276-.361-.498 with 23 HRs, 66 RBIs, 85 runs and 12 SBs.

I pegged him in my Top 24 outfielders in the preseason but he hasn't performed well thus far, so that begs the question-should the Cardinals deal Rasmus?

I will discuss after the jump:

As Bernie Miklasz wrote a few days ago in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, you can't give him away for a 3 month rental, but if you get someone with value, like Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson, you make the deal. According the Joe Strauss, from the same St. Louis Post Dispatch, the Cardinals covet Hellickson:

Mark-the-Mo-wannabe: If TB really is interested in Colby, would adding Westbrook to the deal add any value for them. James Sheilds works for me. Colby, Westbrook, and what else does it take to make this trade? I,m guessing Boggs or Lynn. Thoughts?

Joe Strauss: My information is that Jeremy Hellickson (24) is the pitcher the Cardinals most covet in a potential deal. I'm not getting into the other speculation.

I don't see the Rays dealing Hellickson for Rasmus because even though they have Matt Moore almost major league ready in AA, the Rays are still in the playoff race and it would not make sense to deal Hellickson. Plus, they have AAA outfield prospect Desmond Jennings who is just waiting for a callup this season.

Strauss went on to answer several questions about Rasmus in his chat recently, and discussed the unreal expectations bestowed upon Rasmus before he arrived in St. Louis:

The pressure Rasmus feels with this organization are different than he would encounter elsewhere, where he would not be considered the face of a player development renaissance. Does the player have some responsibility for his current struggles? Absolutely. But it's fair to say the expectations generated even before his arrival in St. Louis have complicated the situation. Anyone who read Jr. Goold's article from last Sunday would sense a player torn.

Maybe moving him now makes sense, and I am sure there are some MLB teams which have plenty of interest in Rasmus, but which teams?

As a Dodgers fan, would dealing Chad Billingsley and Rafael Furcal be enough to land the under-performing Rasmus? It just might, and it would give the Cardinals the starting pitcher they need and a leadoff hitter, who when healthy, can be very productive for a playoff caliber team like the Cardinals. I am not sure the Dodgers would want to give up Billz, but they do have some up an coming pitching prospects in their farm system, one of which-Rubby de la Rosa-is starting to show some real promise as a major league starting pitcher.

A few other possibilities include trading Rasmus to the Marlins for either Anibal Sanchez or Ricky Nolasco. Or to the A's for Gio Gonzalez. Or Rasmus to the Braves for Jair Jurrjens makes a heck of a lot of sense for both teams. The Braves need an everyday centerfielder, and the Cardinals need starting pitching.

Miklasz and Strauss both doubt that the Cardinals will deal Rasmus this season, but I think it is just a matter of time before he is dealt. Like Miklasz mentioned, Rasmus would be their top trade chip besides pitching prospects Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez.

Should the Cardinals deal Colby Rasmus?