Jason Frasor Rumors

AL East Rumors: Frasor, Red Sox, Scott, Yankees

Here's the latest news from "The Beast"…

  • The Blue Jays and Diamondbacks have discussed a trade involving Jason Frasor, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, though the D'Backs aren't close to a deal with the Jays (or any club) for now.  We heard last week that the Jays and Snakes were talking and the two clubs seem like a good fit — Arizona wants veteran relievers and Toronto has Frasor and several other experienced bullpen arms.  Frasor has a 3.12 ERA and a 7.8 K/9 rate this season and recently became Toronto's all-time leader in pitching appearances.
  • The Red Sox have no deals coming in the near future and at the moment, "nothing likely on [the] trade front," several team sources tell The Boston Herald's Mike Silverman (Twitter link).
  • Luke Scott will miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury and he may have played his last game with the Orioles, notes MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli.  The O's could choose to non-tender Scott, who is entering his last year of arbitration and is due a raise from his $6.4MM 2011 salary.  Scott, for his part, says he wants to stay in Baltimore.
  • ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews thinks the Yankees should pursue another hitter before the trade deadline, rather than starting pitching.
  • The Rays aren't sure if they're sellers or buyers yet, which "is typical of a team with no room for budgetary error and plenty for restocking the cupboard," writes Yahoo's Jeff Passan.

Blue Jays Have Inquired On Padres Relievers

The Blue Jays have inquired on the Padres’ available relievers, including Heath Bell, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. It’s not clear whether the Blue Jays want to obtain a closer or are interested in flipping one of San Diego’s relievers to another team.

If they were to acquire Bell, they could offer arbitration and collect a pair of draft picks next season, presuming the free agent to be declines the offer and signs elsewhere. Mike Adams is under team control through 2012, but Padres owner Jeff Moorad told him he’s staying put.

Don’t count on the Blue Jays trading their own relievers, Rosenthal writes. Toronto has 2012 options for Jon Rauch, Jason Frasor and Octavio Dotel, who all project as Type B free agents, according to MLBTR’s reverse-engineered Elias Rankings.


D’Backs Eye Starters, Intend To Acquire Reliever

The Diamondbacks will add at least one reliever and could add a starter, too, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Giants, who lead Arizona by 3.5 games in the NL West, acquired Jeff Keppinger tonight and D'Backs GM Kevin Towers is expected to respond before long.

The D'Backs "would love" to acquire Kerry Wood, who can block any trade the Cubs propose. Arizona also has interest in Todd Coffey, Jason Isringhausen and Jason Frasor. John Gambadoro of Sports 620 KTAR reported last week that the D'Backs would consider Isringhausen, Wood and possibly Frasor.

Though the D'Backs are looking for starting pitching, Ubaldo Jimenez, Hiroki Kuroda and Aaron Harang are unlikely to be traded within the NL West. For more on what the D'Backs, Giants and other contenders are looking for, check out Tim Dierkes' analysis from earlier today.



Possible Reds Relief Targets

The Reds have had internal discussions about acquiring Jim Johnson, Koji Uehara, Jason Isringhausen, Jason Frasor, and Todd Coffey, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  Isringhausen and Coffey have previous ties to the organization.  GM Walt Jocketty might have to go toe-to-toe with the divison rival Cardinals and Pirates on certain players, as those teams also seek bullpen help.

Morosi adds that the Reds are also focused on high-end starters, maintaining their interest in Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez.  The Reds are not looking for shortstop help, as they're pleased with the play of Zack Cozart in his first seven games.


Rosenthal’s Full Count Video: Yankees, Ubaldo, Jays

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new Full Count video up, so let's recap…

  • Two GMs tell Rosenthal that the Yankees are more worried about Mariano Rivera's nagging triceps injury than they're letting on. If true, they could increase their efforts to acquire a setup man, though they're hopeful Rafael Soriano will be back from his elbow injury soon after the All-Star break.
  • The Mets have called the Yankees and offered Francisco Rodriguez according to one source, but they're only interested if the Mets call them at the deadline and offer K-Rod at a minimal price.
  • The starting pitching market could soon heat up. The Rockies are getting calls about Ubaldo Jimenez and several other players, though they're not shopping their ace right-hander. Rosenthal says they'll listen on anyone besides Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. Jimenez is under contract through 2014 (though he can void that option if traded) and could return a significant package of the players, so the team would give a trade serious consideration.
  • Don't be surprised if the Marlins listen on Ricky Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez. Florida will try to get back into contention, though they'll likely entertain offers for both pitchers if that doesn't happen. Nolasco is under contract though 2013, Sanchez under team control through 2012.
  • The Blue Jays offer perhaps the best value on the bullpen market. Jason Frasor, Octavio Dotel, and Jon Rauch aren't in the same class as Heath Bell, though all three could pitch better outside of the AL East and have club options for 2012. They all figure to qualify as Type-B free agents as well.

AL East Notes: Hughes, Montero, Blue Jays, Rays

Just when it seemed like the AL East standings were becoming a little less bunched up, the Red Sox dropped four straight and the Rays won seven of eight. New York, Boston, and Tampa Bay are now separated by just two games, as the Rays look for a sweep in Houston while the Sox hope to avoid one in Pittsburgh. Here are today's links from around the division:

  • The Yankees will need to add another starting pitcher if they hope to win a championship this season, writes Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News. He notes that starter doesn't necessarily have to come from outside the organization though – it could be Phil Hughes.
  • Rival evaluators have taken note of Jesus Montero's decline in offensive production this year, says ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Insider only). According to Olney, it's led to some speculation that the Yankees could push to trade Montero this season "in an effort to recoup some value."
  • Within Nick Cafardo's Sunday column for the Boston Globe, he writes that Jason Frasor may be the prize of the Blue Jays' bullpen at next month's trade deadline. Cafardo adds that teams figure to inquire on Marc Rzepczynski, but he's the one Jays' reliever who definitely "isn't going anywhere."
  • DRaysBay's Steve Slowinksi breaks down Andrew Friedman's trade history in a piece for the St. Petersburg Times. Slowinski concludes that Friedman has netted the Rays 20 extra wins while also saving a sizable chunk of salary.

AL East Notes: Yankees, Werth, Pavano, Jays, Rays

Seven years ago today, the Yankees signed Eduardo Nunez as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic. Now 23, Nunez is in the mix to be New York's utility infielder in 2011 after hitting .280/.321/.360 with more walks (three) than strikeouts (two) in his brief big league debut last season (53 PA).

Here are some more notes that have to do with the Yanks and their fellow AL East clubs…

  • Joel Sherman of The New York Post reports that the Yankees "have told their scouts to bear down on several teams they think could have starters available" in a trade this summer. The teams they are targeting include the Braves, Angels, A's, White Sox, and Cardinals according to Sherman.
  • Jayson Werth told SI.com's Jon Heyman that he had a "great" meeting with the Red Sox earlier this offseason, after which he figured they would offer six years (Twitter link). They only offered five, so he ended up with the Nationals.
  • Carl Pavano spoke to Kelsie Smith of The Pioneer Press about being pursued by the Yankees this offseason. "I don't think [the past] would be a hindrance, but there would have definitely been obstacles," said Pavano. "I'm not naïve enough to think that there wouldn't have been things I would have had to overcome, especially the trust of the fans and maybe some of the guys that were there. That's reality."
  • Richard Griffin of The Toronto Star notes (on Twitter) that four of the Blue Jays' ten highest paid players are former closers: Jason Frasor, Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, and Octavio Dotel.
  • When asked about the payroll disparity between his Rays and other teams in the division, Joe Maddon told Ken Davidoff of Newsday that he's "never seen a dollar bill throw a strike, or hit a homer, or whatever." (Twitter link)

Blue Jays Avoid Arbitration With Jason Frasor

The Blue Jays and Jason Frasor have agreed to a one-year contract worth $3.5MM according to a press release. The deal also includes a club option for 2012 worth $3.75MM. Frasor accepted arbitration back in November rather than hit the open market as a Type-A free agent reliever. 

The 33-year-old right-hander posted a 3.68 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 63 2/3 innings last season, and over the last two years he owns a 3.12 ERA, 9.0 K/9, and 3.2 BB/9. Frasor is the incumbent in a rebuilt Toronto bullpen that lost Scott Downs and Kevin Gregg but added Carlos Villanueva, Octavio Dotel, Jon Rauch, and Frank Francisco.

Our Arbitration Tracker shows that Frasor filed for $3.73MM while the team countered with $3.25MM. The new deal essentially splits the two figures.


Blue Jays Aim For Bullpen Depth

San Diego's relievers combined to strike out more than a batter per inning over the course of the 2010 season, while limiting hits, walks and homers. Manager Bud Black saw five of his relievers appear in 30 or more games and emerge with ERAs under 2.00 at the end of the season and the Padres' NL West rivals weren't the only ones to notice.

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos says he'd like to have a deep bullpen in 2011, like the Padres did last year. He says he's happy to keep more relievers than usual on his roster this year and that the acquisition of Frank Francisco doesn't mean a trade is imminent. The Blue Jays' plans for their relievers haven't changed.

"No impact at all," Anthopoulos said yesterday on a conference call to announce the acquisition of Francisco from the Rangers. "They're all quality relievers and we love having depth in the bullpen one through seven."

Or maybe one through eight. The Blue Jays have discussed the possibility of opening the season with an eight-man bullpen to accomodate their arms and provide manager John Farrell with a variety of options. Though the Jays could open the year with an extra arm in the 'pen, Anthopoulos said a traditional seven-man ensemble is more likely at this point. The Blue Jays' rotation is relatively young and inexperienced, so the team's front office would like to support starters like Brett Cecil and, possibly, Kyle Drabek with steady relief pitching.

"It's certainly part of it," Anthopoulos said. "We don't want to overtax our young starters."

The Blue Jays don't want to overtax their relievers, either. Anthopoulos says there can be a ripple effect when teams have deep bullpens. If every reliever is capable of performing in meaningful situations, no pitcher gets overused. But Anthopoulos has no illusions; even qualified, well-rested relievers struggle and the 2011 Blue Jays won't be any different.

"We all know that they will get hurt," he said. "Some of them won't perform. They'll have bad months."

Take Jason Frasor (pictured), one of the holdovers in the team's new-look bullpen. He walked nearly a batter per inning in April, 2010 and posted an 8.38 ERA through the season’s first month, but recovered from his turbulent start and put together a fine year. He'll join Francisco and free agent signings Jon Rauch and Octavio Dotel, the relievers Anthopoulos expects to compete for the Jays' closing job.

Frasor

Shawn Camp, Casey Janssen and Carlos Villanueva are also right-handed relievers under team control for $1MM-plus in 2011, so the Blue Jays have a surplus of big league arms and could hear from pitching-starved teams before the season begins.

The Jays have seven established right-handed relievers, but Toronto's left-handers have considerably less experience. David Purcey, an out-of-options 28-year-old, was reasonably effective in 2010. He's a leading candidate to make the club, though his walk rate and fly ball rate have been high throughout his brief MLB career. Jo-Jo Reyes is also out of options, but he has made just 11 relief appearances as a pro. Jesse Carlson, who was a mainstay in 2009, could also crack the team's roster.

While their AL East rivals to the south, the Rays, had to lower payroll this offseason and rebuild their bullpen on a budget, Anthopoulos reaffirmed that he has the flexibility to ask for more money if necessary. The Blue Jays can continue spending on their bullpen, even as their young starters become more expensive.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


Arbitration Figures: Tuesday

Today is the deadline for players and teams to submit arbitration figures. Let's keep track of those figures here, with the latest updates on top. You can track all of the players that avoided arbitration today here.

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