With the regular season just a couple of days away, the Toronto Blue Jays are just about ready to start their push for their first postseason berth in two decades.
For some observers, the situation in center field for 2014 and beyond is one that is starting to get interesting.
Youngster, and potential five-tool prospect, Anthony Gose is just about ready to play at the major league full time, and current center fielder Colby Rasmus just isn't cutting it from an offensive standpoint.
Since his breakout year in 2010, when he was just 23 years old, Rasmus hasn't managed to hit better than .225 in either 2011 or 2012. This spring, the 26-year-old is only hitting .170 through 47 at-bats (although he has been getting on base quite a bit).
With Gose waiting in the wings, you'd have to think that Rasmus' time in Toronto is limited. For starters, he's a more controllable and cheaper asset than Rasmus (Gose isn't arbitration-eligible until 2016 and won't hit free agency until 2019). Secondly, he has the potential to be just as solid in center field and surely can at least match Rasmus' production from the plate.
Allowing Gose, long revered as one of the better prospects in all of MLB (he was among Baseball America's top 40 prospects before the 2012 season), to continue his development at the next level will be crucial in him reaching his potential and factoring into the Jays' long term plans.
Now, suppose Colby Rasmus somehow found a way to replicate his breakout season from 2010 when he was a St. Louis Cardinal.
If he were to find himself on pace to hit 23 home runs, knock in 66 runs, hit .276 from the plate, reach base at a clip of .361 and play excellent defense in center field, some would start to say that keeping him around is essential and that a controversy would emerge in center field.
To me, the optimal kind of situation for the Toronto Blue Jays at that point would be to deal Colby Rasmus for some bullpen help and/or a package of prospects. At his age, he would still carry some trade value if he were to emerge as an offensive presence, and losing his bat wouldn't hurt the Blue Jays all that much.
No matter how well or how poorly Colby Rasmus plays in 2013, it seems to me like his days in Toronto are limited.