Colby Rasmus: Does the Astros extending a qualifying offer mean he is staying?


The biggest news of the Houston Astros offseason since the Chad Qualls release, broke around 3 pm on Friday, that the Astros extended a qualifying offer to Colby Rasmus for $15.8 million for the 2016 season only. Last season, Rasmus made $8 million to play for the AL Wild Card winning Astros to build up his value for a possible multiyear offer somewhere. When he initially signed with the Astros, I thought this would be a one and done stint with the Astros, but his play this season has changed my view.

Let me briefly explain what the qualifying offer means. By extending the offer to Rasmus, the Astros are saying that they are willing to sign Rasmus for more than the market for one more season. Rasmus has till November 13th to accept the offer or reject the offer and stay or go elsewhere. I am writing this post from the viewpoint that he will remain with the Houston Astros. Tomorrow, Michael Mitchell, will write that Rasmus is going to leave. In my opinion, with the news today, Rasmus will be returning to the Astros.

Now that Rasmus knows that the Astros are serious about retaining his services, I see him rejecting the qualifying offer and signing a long-term deal with the Astros. Yes, he can reject and sign with another team, the Astros would get a pick in the compensation round and the other team would lose the first round pick. I think both sides really don’t want this deal signed because Rasmus wants the long term comfort and the Astros don’t want to pay $15.8 million for one year of Rasmus’ service.

Rasmus and the Astros GM have a good working relationship as Luhnow had a hand in drafting him when he was with the St. Louis Cardinals. Last offseason, Luhnow took a chance on Rasmus when other teams weren’t as interested, and signed him for $8 million. Rasmus ended up fitting right in with the Astros young team, including being a hit at Club Astros and with the fans for his epic celebration look. While Houston is not exactly the countryside that we are portrayed as across the country, the Rodeo and pickup trucks are Rasmus’ lifestyle. When he is done with baseball, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him becoming a farmer or rancher.

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The Astros have the need for a defensive outfielder who has some pop in his bat, especially with George Springer missing time with injuries in his first two seasons. Rasmus likes Houston; Luhnow has a vested interest in Rasmus’ success. I see the two sides splitting the difference and agreeing to a three-year deal for about $10-12 million per season. Rasmus can get more somewhere else, but now attached to him is a draft pick. This pick inclusion will make some teams wary of offering more because of having to lose that pick to sign him.

I don’t want the Astros to overpay because of his hot streak in the playoffs, but they have to be aware that other teams might overpay because of that. Rasmus had a career year in 2015, and the future of the Astros could be depending on whether the Astros sign Rasmus. The next elite outfield prospects are about 2-3 years away from joining the Astros in Daz Cameron and Kyle Tucker, so signing Rasmus to cover until then will be smart for the Astros. Luhnow is gambling here, but at least they are willing to offer that much.

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The one downside to this qualifying offer for Rasmus is that it takes the Astros out of signing any other outfielders until Rasmus accepts or rejects the offer. So the dreams of Alex Gordon, Jason Heyward, and Justin Upton joining the Astros have to be put on hold until Rasmus makes up his mind. What do you think will happen?