Buck Showalter had a meeting with free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus on Saturday. According to Fox's Jon Morosi, the meeting went well, at least from Rasmus' end: He reported that Rasmus came away from the meeting with "a very favorable impression" of the Orioles.
Where does this rank for importance on the scale of baseball free agent rumors? Favorable impressions don't sign a lot of checks, and in this case, all that has been reported is the feelings of Rasmus about the meeting. Local O's writers touched on the meeting without saying anything of substance about how Showalter came away feeling about Rasmus.
That matters because, as MASN's Roch Kubatko writes, the meeting was as much about Showalter "forming his own opinion" on a player who's come with some red flags in the past. He has done this before, Roch notes. If Buck were to give the thumbs down to Rasmus, that would be that. Of course, even if Showalter likes Rasmus and Rasmus likes Showalter, that doesn't mean that Rasmus' agent and Dan Duquette are going to be the first ones to come to a deal.
Rasmus is only 28, but he has managed to pack some problems into his MLB career. He was traded away from the 2011 Cardinals, a team that would go on to win the World Series without him, despite putting up a decent .246/.332/.420 batting line up to that point in the season. Rasmus reportedly "has never been the same" after playing for then-manager Tony La Russa. That's according to Rasmus' own dad, who gave an interview with a Toronto sports radio station back in August.
I don't listen to a whole lot of Baltimore sports radio, so maybe they talk to dads all the time. Dave Johnson doesn't count since he's a dad whose existing job is to talk about the Orioles. The Rasmus dad thing seems pretty unusual to me, though. You have to figure this is one of the things that Showalter wanted to hear about for himself. A dad still being important in his grown son's life is great. Helicopter parentage continuing into this stage of life is not so great.
There are things to like about the possibility of Rasmus on the Orioles, though not so many of those things involve his performance last year, in which he hit .225/.287/.448 while playing in only 104 games for the Blue Jays. At first glance, that on-base percentage makes me look at Rasmus and say thanks but no thanks. Let's just stick with this whole apparent Alejandro De Aza and/or Dariel Alvarez plan after all.
Then again, if Rasmus is really due for a bounce-back year, he could be quite a bargain at the $7 million contract that Roch says Rasmus is seeking. Both Nelson Cruz and Delmon Young were 2014 O's who had some red flags and they were both key parts of the team.
You won't find a much better motivation for a guy to put on a showcase than the tens of millions of dollars he could earn if he has a good year, and Rasmus did slug .501 in 2013, with 22 homers in 118 games. The talent has shown itself, and not too far in the past, either.
There's enough potential there that we could talk ourselves into making a $7 million bet on Rasmus, assuming the Orioles even came away from the meeting with a favorable impression of Rasmus.
As I have written before and will write again, this is a baseball rumor, so a safe default stance is that probably nothing will happen. If something were to happen, though, the seeds were probably planted at that Saturday meeting.