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Colby Rasmus wouldn't have been of much help to the Orioles

Why didn't the Orioles sign Colby Rasmus last winter?

This past Orioles season – and now the 2015 postseason – has been ripe for hindsight criticism.

After winning 96 games in 2014 and then just 81 in 2015, moves that weren’t made – and some bad ones that were – have received plenty of understandable finger-pointing.

The Orioles should have re-signed Nelson Cruz, Nick Markakis and Andrew Miller.

They never should have traded Jake Arrieta in 2013.

They never should have traded Eduardo Rodriguez in 2014.

They never should have traded two prospects for Travis Snider in 2015.

You know the drill. You’ve probably said some or all of the above.

And now there could be a new ‘woulda coulda’ thrown into the Orioles’ retrospect blues.

Given what’s happened this October, it’s easy to suggest that last January the Orioles should have signed outfielder Colby Rasmus, who is one of the darlings of this postseason.

Except that Rasmus would have been more of the same for an Orioles lineup that hit lots of home runs, struck out a ton and struggled to get on base in 2015.

What Rasmus has done this October in four games for the Houston Astros – three homers, five RBIs, six walks, a .500 batting average and a .688 on-base percentage -- has been exceptionally impressive. He deserves plenty of credit for that. But this run is not really indicative of his 2015 season: 25 homers, 154 strikeouts, a .238 average and .314 on-base percentage.

Solid enough numbers, but not what the Orioles needed offensively to make up for their disappointing starting rotation.

They could have had Rasmus, though, no question there.

A little background: After the Orioles lost Cruz and Markakis, they were desperately seeking outfielders with track records. Rasmus, who turned 29 in August, was coming off a rough season with the Toronto Blue Jays (18 homers, .225 average, .287 on-base percentage) and was looking for a one-year, make-good deal.

The Orioles were interested. And manager Buck Showalter traveled to Alabama to visit with Rasmus to see if this was the kind of guy he wanted on his team. He came away thinking that the Orioles could be a fit for Rasmus, who had been tagged with the label of underachiever after two impressive early seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and then a precipitous drop off in Toronto.

But Orioles management was in agreement that the club wasn’t going to offer Rasmus an increase on his 2014 salary of $7 million. One source said the Orioles matched that figure for 2015. Instead, Rasmus agreed to a one-year deal with the Astros for $8 million.

At the time, there were some that groused that Rasmus chose a little more money over a winning team. Of course, Houston is in the playoffs and the Orioles aren’t – funny how things work out.

Ultimately, the situation worked out for Rasmus, who certainly improved his free-agent stock this offseason with his great early postseason performance (also, his 25 homers in the regular season were a career high).

The Orioles could take another run at him this winter. But my guess is he’ll get a multi-year deal this time around. And I still don’t see him as a great fit for a club that still has its share of free-swingers.

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