Image courtesy blatant theft from our friend The Blue Jay Hunter, via Google Images
Seems that while I was busy cranking out content for Getting Blanked there late in the week (*cough*), and over the weekend while I was busy telling a thoroughly excellent band of New Yorkers (full disclosure: labelmates) that it’s OK to be third-generation Yankees fans because you can’t change something you’re born into, y’know, the same way it’s OK to be a racist if you’re born into a family of racists (Note: ZANG!), the Jays were doing a little business. First off, they avoided arbitration with Jason Frasor, signing him to a one-year deal for $3.5-million with a club option for $3.75-million in 2012, then they came to terms with the newly-acquired Frank Francisco for $4-million, all while rumours swirled that the club could have been involved in a three way deal that would send Chone Figgins to Oakland with Kevin Kouzmanoff possibly winding up here. (MLBTR is the easiest place to check out all the details.)
I saw the Frasor news at the time and didn’t bother to write about it because, apart from general laziness, it seems so clear that his time on the Jays roster is coming to an end.
I suppose I might totally be wrong about that but… yeah, it’s not just that Anthopoulos has rarely mentioned Frasor when discussing the bullpen, or that he’s specifcially kept his name out of any public conversation of who is in the mix to close games. It’s more that it makes so little sense to not only pay Frasor that much as your fourth bullpen right-hander, but to pay Shawn Camp $2.5-million to be your fifth bullpen right-hander, and so on down the line (Villanueva makes $1.45-million and Janssen a million-and-change).
The problem, of course, is not just that you shouldn’t have to pay that much for those lower-leverage innings, but that, based on the way you intend to use him there’s quite the disparity between Frasor’s potential value to you and to anybody else. For that reason alone you’d figure something’s got to give. (Some suspected that Frasor might have been involved in the Figgins-Kouzmanoff deal, but that’s entirely speculative.)
Here’s how I see the bullpen, given the way things currently stand: Unlike Octavio Dotel, Frank Francisco has a reasonably even platoon split for his career, so my early guess (read: hope) is that Francisco takes over the Scott Downs role, coming into the highest leverage situations against just about anybody, with Rauch closing clean ninths, Dotel being a ROOGY– because it would be insanity to ever have him face a left-hander– and David Purcey taking some of the lefty action away from Francisco.
There will still be plenty of innings for the guys farther down the depth chart, and it’s not like the Jays can’t afford to overpay a guy, but again with Camp, Janssen and Villanueva also around (and Roenicke maybe pressing, if he ever figures how to locate his goddamned pitches), it’s not like there’s a pressing reason to keep Frasor around. And the fact that the Jays have added a club option to the deal they just signed with Frasor, which allows some flexibility to avoid the offer him arbitration in the hope he doesn’t take it scenario they were forced into this winter, makes him more a movable commodity, I think.
So, basically, too much seems to point towards an upcoming trade for me to believe otherwise, regardless of what the club is saying about being done making moves.