Jason Frasor has been with the Toronto Blue Jays for quite some time, hasn’t he?
Yet as the real off-season work begins for Alex Anthopoulos and co., one of the very first decisions they’ll have to make will be whether to re-sign the team’s all-time leader in pitching appearances or not. According to MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm, Frasor may just end up being the odd man out in a group of two free-agent middle-relief pitchers on the team, the other player being Brandon Lyon.
If the season had ended in July, Frasor’s position with the Blue Jays in 2013 would be all but guaranteed, but a plethora of additions to the bullpen since then means that Anthopoulos now has more room to play with in that area as far as who to give a job to going into next season:
”…the bullpen is an area of depth. It’s going to be important that we have some relievers that have a chance to be here for a while. Both guys we’ll strongly take a look at. I don’t know where that’s going to go.”
While there’s always the chance that the team could bring back both Frasor and Lyon, Chisholm believes it’s rather unlikely that the Blue Jays will be in an ideal situation to do so. The one thing that Frasor has going for him over Lyon in a either-or scenario, besides familiarity with the organization, is the price tag: Frasor made $3.75 million last year with the club and there’s a possibility that he could come slightly cheaper next season. Lyon, on the other hand, is coming off the final year of a three-year deal that paid him $5.5 million in 2012; he’d be taking a significant pay cut to fall into the same kind of price range that Frasor is in, and I hear that’s something professional athletes generally aren’t too fond of doing.
Another factor on the Frasor side of the coin might be some of the biting comments he made towards the Blue Jays (“too many young guys”) at the end of the season regarding the lack of leadership on the team. It’s something that clubhouse leader Jose Bautista has already dismissed in the media, but is it something that will affect Frasor’s dealings with his fellow teammates going forward? I can’t imagine that his bosses were too pleased with the openness of his criticism, and much like the rumors surrounding the reasons why the Blue Jays may be staying away from free-agent pitcher Shaun Marcum, Frasor’s comments might just wind up being one of those “extenuating circumstances” that makes the team’s decision-making process that much easier.
Then again, the team might just let both Frasor and Lyon go. Considering the excessive depth that Anthopoulos has gathered in the bullpen, it might just be the most likely outcome.