Going to arbitration for less than $500,000 on a contract that will end up being at least $3.25 million hardly seems worth it, but that’s exactly what will happen with Jason Frasor and the Toronto Blue Jays, after the reliever filed his arbitration case for $3.725 million ahead of yesterday’s deadline.
By now we’re all aware of the Omerta like silence Alex Anthopoulos practices while negotiating contracts, and so it’s unlikely we’ll ever learn for certain why such a relatively small amount of money is holding up a contract for a potential closer candidate on this team, especially considering that the team had no problem signing free agent Jon Rauch to a deal worth $3.75 million mere days ago, or guaranteed $3.5 million to Octavio Dotel earlier in the offseason.
Here’s a guess: Frasor realized how badly he was burned by being attached to the Type A free agent status that would’ve forced any team interested in signing him to give up their first round draft pick. He saw the contracts that other, lesser relievers were getting on the open market and that led his pre-arbitration demands to include a guarantee that the Blue Jays would not offer him arbitration at the conclusion of any deal that he signed. With no arbitration offer, Frasor wouldn’t be shackled to an Elias ranking status and be forced to suffer through the same experience next offseason.
This would be a similar arrangement to what Grant Balfour negotiated in his deal with the Oakland A’s.
My prediction is that Frasor wins his arbitration case easily considering his recent numbers and the money that the Jays have handed out to inferior right handed arms this offseason.