Jason Frasor Rumors

Blue Jays Notes: Bullpen, Romero, Johnson, Villanueva

MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm provides a look at the Blue Jays upcoming offseason and tackles a host of free agent issues in the process:

  • Of the team's four free agents — Kelly Johnson, Brandon Lyon, Jason Frasor and Carlos Villanueva — the most likely to return is Frasor or Lyon. The bullpen has become a position of depth, however, with the acquisitions of Steve Delabar and Brad Lincoln. Sergio Santos should return in 2013 as well. That could mean all four free agents will find new homes.
  • The team has no interest in shopping Ricky Romero and selling on the left-hander when his value is at an all-time low.
  • There doesn't appear to be much interest in retaining Johnson, according to Chisholm. The team once had eyes on bringing Marco Scutaro back to Toronto, but his torrid run with the Giants has likely made him too spendy. Instead, Adeiny Hechavarria or Mike Aviles could take the role.
  • The Blue Jays aren't willing to give Villanueva a multi-year deal and an opportunity to pitch out of the rotation — two things that the free agent is seeking. He'll likely pitch elsewhere in 2013.
  • Anibal Sanchez will probably get an "extended look," according to Chisholm, but it's more likely that GM Alex Anthopoulos will upgrade the rotation via trade.

Frasor Flexible On Cusp Of Free Agency

For some players free agency means long-term contract offers and lavish visits to the cities of interested teams. Jason Frasor is not one of those players, and he knows it. The 35-year-old right-hander remains flexible as his upcoming appearance on the free agent market approaches, and he insists he’ll play ‘for anybody.’

“I’m not too picky,” he told MLBTR this weekend. “They’re all big league cities and I’ve been to each one. The thing is there are so many middle relievers. It’s flooded with guys who do the same job as I do, so you’re really fighting for spots. There are only so many spots to go around.”

Jason Frasor - Blue Jays (PW)

Frasor will hit free agency after the World Series ends and, assuming the Blue Jays don't make him a qualifying offer, he won’t be tied to draft pick compensation. He was linked to compensation as a Type A free agent the last time he hit free agency, following the 2010 season. Instead of hitting the market as a Type A player, he accepted Toronto's offer of arbitration before signing his current contract. It’s a process he won’t miss.

“Looking back, it wasn’t that fun,” Frasor said, reflecting on the now-defunct Type A and Type B designations. “It wasn’t that great. A few teams called, but I had strings attached … I’m glad that’s gone. Now if they want you they can sign you. They don’t have to give up a first round pick for a middle reliever. That doesn’t make any sense.”

Frasor’s generally strong 2012 season ended with consecutive outings in which he allowed two earned runs without completing an inning. The Blue Jays’ all-time leader in career pitching appearances finished the year with a 4.12 ERA, 10.9 K.9, 4.5 BB/9 and a 38.4% ground ball rate in 50 appearances. His average fastball velocity remained 93 mph and his swinging strike rate stayed relatively constant at 9.0%. Those numbers will be enough to generate modest contract offers at a time that many teams are seeking relief help.

The nine-year veteran will weigh contract value and location when deciding where to sign this offseason. He prefers the East Coast, feels more comfortable in the American League and would ideally prefer to join a winning team.

“But again, that’s not going to stop me from signing with a West Coast team,” he added. “We’ll see.”

Frasor realizes middle relievers often wait until the new year before finding jobs, and he would like to avoid that fate if possible. His preference would be to sign relatively soon instead of drawing out the free agent process. Beyond that his next move is anybody’s guess.

Photo courtesy of US Presswire.

Frasor Approves Of CBA Changes

Blue Jays reliever Jason Frasor won’t miss baseball’s free agent ranking system the next time he’s eligible for free agency. The sport’s new collective bargaining agreement eliminates Type A and Type B designations and assures non-elite free agents that they won’t be tied to draft pick compensation. 

“I think this is the right way,” Frasor told me yesterday. “You have middle relievers who are Type A? I mean who’s going to give up a first round pick for someone who’s going to pitch the seventh inning? So I think this is more fair.”

Under baseball’s previous collective bargaining agreement, teams had to surrender top draft picks for signing Type A free agents who had turned down offers of arbitration. Knowing that turning down an offer of arbitration would make them unappealing to potential suitors, middle relievers often accepted their teams’ offers. 

Frasor was eligible for free agency following the 2010 season, but he pitched well enough to obtain a Type A ranking. He ultimately accepted the Blue Jays’ offer of arbitration instead of testing free agency with limited market value. Though Frasor was happy to return to Toronto, Type A status led to free agency lite for similarly-positioned relievers. Potential buyers wanted to keep their draft picks, so their interest in ranked middle relievers was often tepid. Frasor took note when he heard that baseball’s current collective bargaining agreement includes some significant adjustments.

“My reaction was it was two years too late,” he said. “If that Type A and Type B stuff wasn’t there, I’m not sure how it would have played out [two winters ago], but it could have changed how I went about doing that.”

Frasor, 34, is on track to hit free agency this offseason. Unless the Blue Jays make him a qualifying offer of $12.5MM or so — an extremely remote possibility — his performance will determine his free agent value. And for relievers such as Frasor it’s a welcome change.

Players Traded After Having Options Exercised

Every offseason, once the playoffs are over and a new World Series champion has been crowned, teams must decide whether to exercise or decline options for various players. While some decisions are straightforward — think Robinson Cano, Yadier Molina and James Shields — others are complex. In some cases, the team exercises its option with the knowledge that a trade is a distinct possibility. If the team can secure the player’s services for something less than market value, he’ll be valuable as a trade chip even if he’s no longer a fit on his original club's payroll or roster.

Teams exercised a total of 19 player options after the 2011 season and two of those players have since been dealt. Here’s a closer look into the circumstances surrounding the two trades:

  • On New Year’s Day the White Sox sent right-hander Jason Frasor and his $3.75MM salary back to Toronto for Myles Jaye and Daniel Webb, a pair of 6’3” right-handers who have yet to reach Double-A. Though Jaye and Webb aren’t considered top prospects, they are better than nothing, which is what GM Kenny Williams would have ended up with if he had declined Frasor’s option.
  • Over the weekend, the Red Sox sent shortstop Marco Scutaro to Colorado for Clayton Mortensen. The right-hander posted a 3.86 ERA with 4.6 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and a 52.7% ground ball rate in 58 1/3 innings for relief for the Rockies in 2011 and may prove useful in Boston. If not, at least the Red Sox avoided the $1.5MM buyout on Scutaro’s $6MM option and moved him without taking on salary. Alex Speier of WEEI.com explains how the deal relates to baseball’s luxury tax and reports that the Rockies were the first team to offer to take on all of Scutaro’s salary this offseason.

AL East Notes: Orioles, Kuroda, Nakajima, Guthrie

On this date in 1996, the Red Sox signed veteran left-hander Jamie Moyer, who at that time had a 4.51 ERA in 1116 2/3 MLB innings over the course of nine MLB seasons. Though he appeared in just 23 games for Boston, he enjoyed a career renaissance in Seattle and hasn't stopped yet. Moyer, now 49, is recovering from Tommy John surgery and has drawn some interest from MLB teams. Here's the latest on the AL East…

  • The Orioles are expected to hire former Mets, Brewers and Athletics pitching coach Rick Peterson as an organizational pitching guru this week, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.
  • The Red Sox have maintained interest in Hiroki Kuroda, but his asking price figures to exceed Boston’s budget unless they make another move to free up payroll, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. Kuroda is open to pitching on the East Coast, Bradford notes.
  • The Yankees have until Friday to negotiate a deal with Japanese infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima and the sides continue discussing possible contracts, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Earlier reports had suggested the deadline was Tuesday, rather than Friday. Depending on whether the Yankees sign Nakajima, they could have interest in bringing back Eric Chavez or trading Eduardo Nunez
  • Orioles right-hander Jeremy Guthrie told Jeff Joyce and Todd Hollandsworth on MLB Network Radio that he hopes trade rumors surround him next year, since other teams won't be interested if he's pitching poorly. Guthrie is entering his final season of arbitration eligibility and will hit free agency after the 2012 campaign.  
  • Jason Frasor says he was confused when he saw Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos had texted him over the weekend, according to Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star. "I thought he might have wanted to talk,” Frasor said. “He likes to talk. He's a talker." In fact, the GM was calling about the trade that sent Frasor back to the Blue Jays for Myles Jaye and Daniel Webb. Frasor's optimistic that Sergio Santos, his teammate in the minors and majors, will fit well in Toronto.

Blue Jays Acquire Jason Frasor From White Sox

The Blue Jays have acquired Jason Frasor from the White Sox in exchange for right-handed pitchers Myles Jaye and Daniel Webb, according to a press release.  Frasor, 34, returns to Toronto where he played his entire big league career before being traded to the White Sox mid-season.

The veteran right-hander had his $3.75MM club option exercised on October 31st.  It's possible that the White Sox picked up the option with the intention of dealing him this winter.  Frasor posted a 3.60 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in 60 innings for the Blue Jays and White Sox in 2011.  He will join former teammate Sergio Santos, whom Toronto acquired in early December. 12966458

Jaye and Webb were not among the top 25 prospects in the Blue Jays' system, according to John Sickels of Minor League Ball.  Jaye, 20, was Toronto's 17th round pick in 2010 and made nine starts and four relief outings for the club's Appalachian League affiliate in 2011.   Webb, 22, spent the bulk of 2011 with Single-A Lansing where he posted a 5.59 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 12 starts and six relief appearances.

It appears that GM Ken Williams hasn't taken any time off to celebrate the New Year after trading Carlos Quentin to the Padres just over 24 hours ago.  By trading Frasor and the arbitration-eligible Quentin, the club has saved roughly $11.25MM in 2012. 

Frasor and starter Zach Stewart were shipped to Chicago prior to the trade deadline for starter Edwin Jackson and third baseman Mark TeahenOf course, the Blue Jays dealt Jackson to the Cardinals that very same day in order to land center fielder Colby Rasmus.

White Sox Exercise Option On Jason Frasor

The White Sox exercised their $3.75MM club option on reliever Jason Frasor, tweets Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.

The Sox have a good collection of relievers under contract for 2012, but exercising the option on Frasor makes sense since he has positive trade value.  The 34-year-old Chicago native posted a 3.60 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 3.9 BB/9, 1.05 HR/9, and 37% groundball rate in 60 innings for the Blue Jays and White Sox this year.

D’Backs Sell Brazoban To Fukuoka Softbank Hawks

FRIDAY: The Diamondbacks announced that they have sold Brazoban to the Hawks.

WEDNESDAY: Reliever Yhency Brazoban is on the verge of leaving the Diamondbacks for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of the Nippon Professional Baseball League, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  The 31-year-old former Dodger had his contract purchased by Arizona in late June, but was outrighted back to Triple-A a week ago.

Brazoban has a 3.22 ERA, 10.4 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, and 1.5 HR/9 in 36 1/3 Triple-A innings for the Diamondbacks and Rangers this year.

Meanwhile, SI's Jon Heyman tweets that the Diamondbacks are talking to the Blue Jays about reliever Jason Frasor, despite rumors Frasor is headed to the White Sox.

Trade Reaction: Rasmus, Jackson, White Sox

On the off-chance you missed it, the Blue Jays, Cardinals and White Sox announced a pair of major trades today. The Blue Jays acquired center fielder Colby Rasmus and pitchers Trever Miller, Brian Tallet, and P.J. Walters from the Cardinals for starter Edwin Jackson, relievers Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel, outfielder Corey Patterson, and three players to be named later or cash considerations. Before completing the deal with St. Louis, the Blue Jays acquired Jackson and third baseman Mark Teahen from the White Sox for reliever Jason Frasor and prospect Zach Stewart. Here’s reaction to the trades from around MLB. Be warned, Cardinals fans, you might not like what follows… 

  • The price the Cardinals paid to acquire Jackson and bullpen help was "just too high," according to ESPN.com's Keith Law, who suggests St. Louis' internal emphasis is on manager Tony La Russa, not the players. Law loves what Toronto did and doesn't understand Chicago's move.
  • Jim Bowden of ESPN says the Cardinals had better win this year "or they will really regret this one." He calls St. Louis' move the "worst trade of the year" and gives the Blue Jays an 'A.'
  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post confirms that the Cardinals turned down the Rays' offer of Jeff Niemann and J.P. Howell for Rasmus (Twitter link). Sherman suggests the Cardinals would have been better off accepting Tampa Bay's offer. 
  • The Giants showed how to go for it today and the Cardinals showed how not to go for it, Yahoo's Jeff Passan writes.
  • A longtime scout tells ESPN.com’s Buster Olney that Rasmus has a chance to be a star. “I don't understand that deal at all," the scout said (Twitter link). 
  • Matthew Leach of MLB.com likes what the Cardinals got for 2011, but finds it hard to like the deal for St. Louis because of what it means for 2012-14 (Twitter link).
  • Now that Rasmus and Carlos Beltran are off of the market, the list of teams with possible interest in B.J. Upton is taking shape, as Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times explains. The Braves, Indians, Nationals, Phillies, Pirates and Reds are possible destinations for Upton.
  • As Matt Eddy of Baseball America explains, Walters should qualify for a fourth option year in 2012 and Rzepczynski "might be the prototype" pupil for Cards pitching coach Dave Duncan.
  • Joe Pawlikowski of FanGraphs explains that it's easiest to see the trade from the Blue Jays' perspective, since they gave up three relievers and a prospect for a player who can help them contend for 2012-14.
  • At CloserNews, Dan Mennella wonders if Kyle McClellan could be in line for some saves, now that he's back in the bullpen.
  • Tim Dierkes wrote earlier today that “it's hard to see this as anything but a win for the Blue Jays.”
  • I agree with Tim and many of the others above- it’s a win for the Blue Jays. Let’s not forget how much has to be in place for this kind of deal to happen: a creative GM who reads the market well, payroll flexibility (for Teahen’s contract), willingness from ownership to take on salary, enough appealing prospects to be able to part with Stewart and enough bullpen depth to send three quality relievers packing on the same day. This trade doesn’t seem simple and in some ways it may actually be more complicated that it appears.

Blue Jays Acquire Jackson, Teahen For Frasor, Stewart

The Blue Jays acquired starter Edwin Jackson and third baseman Mark Teahen from the White Sox for reliever Jason Frasor and starter Zach Stewart, announced the teams.  Contrary to an earlier report, no cash will change hands in the deal.


Trades are commonplace for Jackson (pictured), who was dealt for the fifth time in his career.  The surprising part is that the Blue Jays, 11 games out in the wild card, acquired the impending free agent.  Speculation is that Jackson may be flipped, possibly to the Cardinals in a deal involving Colby Rasmus.  Jackson, 27, has a 3.92 ERA, 7.2 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 0.59 HR/9 and 46.9% groundball rate in 121 2/3 innings this season, making him one of the better starters available.  The Scott Boras client will head to free agency after the season most likely as a Type B.  He has about $2.9MM remaining on his contract this year.

Teahen is regarded as a salary dump, with almost $7.2MM remaining on his contract through 2012.  The 29-year-old is hitting .203/.277/.305 in 130 plate appearances this year, and is another example of Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos taking on a bad contract to get a deal done.  It was reported yesterday that White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf wanted to trim payroll.  The Sox will save about $9MM over two years, Sox GM Kenny Williams told Gonzales, though that will be less Frasor's option if they pick it up.

Frasor, the Blue Jays' franchise leader in appearances with 455, has a 2.98 ERA, 7.8 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 0.85 HR/9, and 40.2% groundball rate this year.  The 33-year-old Oak Forest, Illinois native has about $1.2MM remaining on his contract this year, plus a $3.75MM club option for 2012.  If the option is declined, Frasor will likely be a Type B free agent.  He's a fine addition to any team's bullpen, though the Sox already rank third in the AL with a 3.33 relief ERA.  The move shouldn't have much effect on Frasor's fantasy value, writes Dan Mennella of CloserNews.

Stewart, 24, ranked 44th among Keith Law's top 100 prospects prior to the season.  Stewart, who Law said has number two starter potential, posted a 4.20 ERA, 7.1 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, and 0.6 HR/9 in 94 1/3 innings this year at Double-A.

The deal was first reported by Doug Seyller, with Ken Rosenthal, Jon Paul Morosi, Joel Sherman, Jon Heyman, and Mark Gonzales also contributing.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.