Blue Jays Discussing Bullpen Trades

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has discussed trade proposals for relievers Scott Downs and Jason Frasor within the last few weeks, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.

Morosi notes that the recent struggles of Downs, Frasor, and the rest of the Blue Jays' bullpen could negatively impact Toronto's trade leverage. The Jays' 5.69 relief ERA ranks next-to-last in the American League, and the normally reliable Downs and Frasor have played a significant part in the bullpen's problems. Downs has a 5.63 ERA in eight innings, while Frasor has compiled a 9.35 ERA in 8.2 IP. It's probably too early to be concerned though — Downs has been consistently effective in Toronto, recording a 2.26 ERA from 2007 to 2009, and Frasor's .527 BABIP so far has inflated his ratios.

The Jays aren't expected to contend this year, meaning they could auction off free-agents-to-be like Downs and Frasor before July's trade deadline. Morosi names the Cubs, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Reds, Marlins, Brewers, and Rays as some teams that could be in need of bullpen help this season.

44 Responses to Blue Jays Discussing Bullpen Trades Leave a Reply

  1. aap212 5 years ago

    Downs was once traded for Mike Morgan, and was then traded with Rick Aguilera. That doesn’t really have anything to do with this story, but it’s kind of amusing for some reason that he’s still going.

  2. TheBunk 5 years ago

    One early season blow out is bloating Downs’ ERA, it’s not gonna be that high for long

    • He’s giving up a lot more contact this year, but he’s also been walking guys less and inducing more groundballs. Once his K rate gets back to a normal level, he’ll go back to being one of the best relievers in the AL.

  3. RanceMulliniks 5 years ago

    It’s a shame AA didn’t trade Frasor in the offseason when his value was at its peak. Especially after signing Gregg, there was no reason to hold onto Frasor. I’m betting no one will pick up Frasor until he shows improvement from these April struggles.

    • What really worries me about Frasor is that he’s not even holding his velocity from last season. His fastball is down over 2 MPH on average, and he’s seen a similar drop in his slider, too.

      His command’s been shaky this year, too, but it’s never good to see a two-pitch reliever lose over 2 MPH on both of his pitches.

  4. gs01 5 years ago

    What was supposed to be Toronto’s strongest part of the team this year the bullpen, has ended up being a laughing stock so far.

    • Funny how two bad games makes it a laughing stock huh? Before they went to Tampa, the bullpen was tremendous.

  5. daveineg 5 years ago

    I seriously doubt the Brewers will be in the market for relievers any time soon. Hoffman had a couple bad games, but he’s fine and they have quite a bit invested in him. Hawkins too has struggled but his struggles have been offset largely by Carlos Villanueva (0.00 ERA in 11 IP). Furthermore, the Brewers have relief arms lined up at AAA starting with lefties Mitch Stetter and Zach Braddock (17 K’s, 3H, 0 R, in 9 1/3).

  6. pb111 5 years ago

    is John Mayberry Jr enough to pry either of them? or is that crazy talk?

    • Probably not, especially after they’ve added Fred Lewis.

      Mayberry really doesn’t look like he’ll become an everyday player at this point. He’s got power, but he doesn’t make a lot of contact or walk much, and he’s stuck in an outfield corner, where it doesn’t appear that he’ll have enough offense. He should stick around for a while as a fourth outfielder-type, but I doubt that there’s much trade interest in him.

  7. jammin502 5 years ago

    It could make for an interesting trade of selling low, while another team sells high to move a contract and open up a position. The Cubs are mentioned and a trade of Kosuke Fukudome might make sense to open up RF for Tyler Colvin, free up some money, and add a veteran to the bullpen mix.

  8. Suzysman 5 years ago

    WhooHoo! Maybe we wont get stuck reliving the Juan Cruz experiment after all!

    • Honestly, I wouldn’t mind if the Cubs to gave Cruz a shot.

      It’d be a cheap risk, and he was a pretty damn good reliever when he was racking up strikeouts. The strikeouts were the main thing missing last season and they were back in his first few appearances in 2010.

      He’s not a savior or anything, but he’s the best option on the market that won’t cost anything.

      • Suzysman 5 years ago

        Last 3 and a bit years
        1.366 WHIP, 5.1 BB/9, .863 aLI, 75% Hold%, 40% inherited runners scoring
        No better then the kids we got, and without the upside.

  9. crunchy1 5 years ago

    Question: Seeing that Frasor is walking almost a batter per inning, is it possible that Frasor has a .527 BABIP because he’s serving up low 90s meatballs when behind in the count? Or has he really just been unlucky?

  10. bomberj11 5 years ago

    I wish that maybe they’d not care that the Red Sox are in the same division, and be willing to make Scott Downs available to us. I don’t trust our bullpen that much.

    • Guest 5 years ago

      i really doubt the jays wouldnt deal downs to the red sox for a few months just because theyre in the same division

  11. lakersdodgersyankees4life 5 years ago

    I dont think the Dodgers get involved in trades for a reliever, unless they are the ones dealing. The pen numbers are skewed by Ramon and Russ Ortiz both getting serious innings. Now that Kuo and Belisario are back, along with Sherrill hopefully getting past mechanical troubles, and our pen is right back to being one of the strongest in the majors. If one of our prospects does really well in AAA, look for us to deal Sherrill, who is making 5M to setup. As a closer, that cost is OK, but to be the 2nd or 3rd setup man, it is a waste of funds

  12. I don’t know, but it better not be anyone too special.

    I’m really excited to see what Castro, Lee, Vitters, Cashner, and the Jacksons can do.

    Maybe someone like Darwin Barney or Junior Lake?

  13. They could trade Zambrano and pay for his salary. After all, Big Z is a middle reliever now, right?

  14. What about Alex Gonzalez, he’s been playing absolutely great so far?

    I’d be more interested in seeing Snider get going, he’s struggled a lot lately.

  15. Except for the two guys they picked up as possible trade bait in Alex Gonzalez and Kevin Gregg? Well-informed post.

  16. Encarnacion's Parrot 5 years ago

    If teams needed them that bad they would signed them when it would cost them nothing.

    That logic is flawed since teams have had, or will have injuries since these free agents were signed.

    If that’s your way of thinking, why didn’t the Twins sign Gregg?

  17. crunchy1 5 years ago

    Barney or Lake sounds good to me. Castro’s early play has made Barney completely expendable. Junior Lake is very talented but still so raw and far away, if the Jays can turn him into something, more power to them. Hopefully the Cubs won’t be so desperate after they pulled the desperate move of moving Zambrano to the bullpen.

  18. Encarnacion's Parrot 5 years ago

    ya because the twins are knocking down Anthopolous’s door to get to Gregg right.

    Of course I’m just speaking hypothetically on Gregg, and giving a FA example. But with all his club options, he may become a commodity by the trade deadline if he keeps it up.

    Now that you mention Camp, he might be targeted right now given his steadiness the last 1+ seasons.

  19. Encarnacion's Parrot 5 years ago

    Given that Rogers Inc has possibly as much money as Cashman, and that the Jays are rebuilding, it’s not crazy to assume the Jays signed some free agents so they could swap them for prospects.

  20. dizzle4 5 years ago

    I have to say this… I’m not an expert on any of these players, but man does the Cubs farm system have some amazing names.

  21. valpohistory 5 years ago

    Barney, all day. If they clear him, it would give Castro a shot at AAA, which he desperately needs. He is eating AA pitching alive. Lake, very raw, but has some outstanding tools. He could end up being better than Castro if he put it all together.

    I posted this on a previous thread a few days ago, but remember when that Blue Jays fan told us that Frasor was frickin great and he just ate the AL beast alive last year and how this new pitch he learned was going to make him one of the greatest ever? That 9 ERA doesn’t look too hot right now. Just figured you would appreciate that as much as I did

  22. Better than Castro?

    Let’s talk about Hak-Ju Lee before we even get into Lake. Or Flaherty. Or Watkins. Or Barney. Or Thomas. Or LeMaheiu. They got some serious middle infield depth. I’m rather blown away by how quickly their farm system has come along, Wilken has totally rebuilt that thing.

  23. crunchy1 5 years ago

    Yeah, I do remember how that went back and forth for awhile! His history prior to last year seemed a much better indicator of what type of pitcher Frasor was going to be. Last year was a bit of a fluke compared to previous years. It seemed he’d be more likely to regress to his usual performance than build on that career year. I remember at the time I would have been okay dealing Ryan Flaherty…now I think that may be too much.

  24. Troy_k 5 years ago

    He’s just trying to make sure he doesn’t become a type A when free agency rolls around. :p

  25. crunchy1 5 years ago

    That would explain it…if his location is off and as someone indicated earlier, his fastball is down a couple of ticks, it’s really going to put him at a disadvantage…and that has to take a toll on his confidence…which leads to nibbling around the plate, which leads to falling behind in the count…and so the cycle repeats itself — or like you said, things can snowaball from there. The Cubs have to be wondering if they can fix this…or worse, if he has an underlying injury that’s affecting his velocity and/or location.

  26. crunchy1 5 years ago

    Agreed that Wilken has improved the Cubs farm since the days that Hendry and Stockstill ran the show…

    Lake will probably be outgrowing SS and moving to 3b. And if he does make it, he’ll likely be a different type of player than Castro is. He’s much more of a raw talent than Castro so the odds of him making it at all are much lower. I’m not sure about Thomas either. He started the year on the bench and has even been playing the OF from time to time. He’s finally starting to hit in a small sample size so maybe he’ll force his way back in to the middle infield picture. One thing is for sure, there’s a logjam there and the Cubs will have to start using some of those assets to help the big league team…as long as it isn’t Castro or Lee, that is.

  27. valpohistory 5 years ago

    Yeah, from the sample sizes that people have seen from him, he has a better arm than Castro, has more range (though he is getting too large for the position), and has more power. Before last season, they were both held in the same regard. Obviously, Castro did a lot more to help himself when he hit for a better average and had less errors.

    What I would assume those things mean, is that Lake tries to rely far too much on his tools rather than being proactive. I have read that he makes errors because he glides to the ball too much in the infield, then banks on his arm to make the play, which sometimes results in him making the error. A correctable mistake, just takes the right coaching and responsiveness to teaching. Also for the batting average aspect, I have also read he tries to kill the ball every time that he gets a pitch to hit, which results in his batting average lacking. Again, simple coaching and responsiveness could correct this. This is all entwined with being raw, being foreign, and just a players personality. One thing is certain, if he puts the tools together, he could certainly be an excellent player.

    You are definitely right though, the Cubs have an immense amount of depth up the middle on the farm.

  28. His stuff just doesn’t seem to be the same as last season.

    According to Pitch F/X data, he’s not only lost 2 MPH on his fastball, but it’s straighter than last season, too. Very few relievers can afford to lose both velocity and movement on their fastballs without seeing a big drop in performance.

  29. Not sure why they would deal Rzepczynski, and I doubt that the other guys would really do that much to increase the value of the package.

    At this point, I think that the Blue Jays just gotta hope that some of their guys get their acts together before July.

  30. But Boston might not want to give one of their talented young players to Toronto, and I would be surprised if AA didn’t want a premium.

    People complain about dealing Hanley Ramirez, and they dealt him for an ace that led them to the World Series.

  31. crunchy1 5 years ago

    Starlin, Hak Ju, Darwin, Junior, Logan and DJ…and that’s just the middle infield! Let’s just hope their play is as amazing as their names!

  32. crunchy1 5 years ago

    Then that’s a greater concern. It would make his fastball very hittable, which means he is probably staying away from the middle of the plate and explain why his walk rate is up as well. It’s just a bad cycle. Nibble around the plate, fall behind in the count, then have to come in with a straight fastball when everybody in the building is expecting it. That sounds like a formula for a .527 BABIP to me.

    Of course, when someone’s stuff drops off, it makes you wonder if their isn’t an underlying injury somewhere.

  33. BoSoxSam 5 years ago


    😛 Actually, I’m not usually a grammar Nazi, just that specific offense bugged me because I had to read the sentence about five times before I really understood what you were saying 😀

  34. Encarnacion's Parrot 5 years ago

    *points wildly* DOUBLE NEGATIVE!!!! DOUBLE NEGAYIVE!!!!
    I’m not usually a grammar Nazi

    It’s a good thing you’re not a spelling Nazi either, your head would explode :/

    Me fail english? That’s unpossible!

  35. BoSoxSam 5 years ago

    hahahaha, thanks for that. :) I type too fast for my own good

  36. valpohistory 5 years ago

    I really like Thomas. I think he could be an excellent utility guy. If he can improve on his streakiness, he could end up being a good player too. In some respects, he reminds me of what Alfonso Soriano was when he was first getting entrenched in the league. He can be very streaky at times, which is okay, as long as he plays a ton when he is streaking, and his cold streaks are lesser than his hot streaks. One thing is certain, if he amounts to have even remotely the amount of mlb success that Soriano has had, he will be very successful. I’d like to see what he could do as a DeRosa-esque player. He has a lot of power, and he seems like he has a decent (not outstanding) glove, similar to what DeRo had.

    What’s your take on Flaherty? He seems like he might be starting to put his hitting together at AA, do you think he can hit enough to make up for some of his fielding inabilities? His bat is certainly the calling card, just can he do it enough?

    Also, what is up with LeMaheiu? He just seems completely overmatched right now. It also doesn’t help that he hits every thing on the ground. He’s another guy that is probably going to outgrow the positions up the middle.

    Interesting stuff

  37. crunchy1 5 years ago

    Thomas was left for dead but he’s suddenly starting to put things together at the plate. His bat gives him a chance but his only chance to be a starter is at 2b. Utility guy is a definite possibility, especially since he’s playing that role already. He’s a good athlete, has decent speed…I’m interested to see if he can keep up his hot start.

    Typically Flaherty’s been a slow starter so I’m hoping it was just business as usual and he’ll start hitting again. Top end for him is as an offensive minded secondbaseman. Good hitter, some pop, patient at the plate– but if he can’t handle 2b on an everyday basis, he may wind up being a super sub off the bench as well. Even then that’d make a nice asset, a lefty hitting IF’er who can hit and fill in at all positions.

    LeMaheiu…I’m not too high on him as others are. The Cubs liked him and felt they could fix a mechanical flaw in his swing. It worked last year and he started hitting line drives, but maybe he’s reverting to old habits again. He’s a lot like a right-handed Flaherty. Good bat potential, no set position – I agree, he looks like another 3b guy. I’d take Flaherty over him. Frankly, it wouldn’t break my heart if LeMaheiu was the guy we wound up trading for some help.

    Of the three, I like Flaherty. The other two…well, theyre at least worth keeping an eye on. Thomas was a late bloomer as an amateur, maybe it’ll happen again as a pro. LeMaheiu, the Cubs scouts saw enough in him to spend a 2nd round pick so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt…for now.

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