Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Jays should name Frasor closer

There has been much debate over who should be the Blue Jays closer this year. Cito Gaston has three options in Scott Downs, Kevin Gregg and Jason Frasor at his disposal, but I believe the clubs stopper should be obvious. In fact, so much so that I happily scooped up Frasor in a fantasy baseball draft last week after two people selected Downs and Gregg in front of me. The past couple of days, Gaston has alluded to the fact Frasor is probably going to be his guy for the forseeable future.

It makes sense to put him in that role. Frasor was fantastic last season, going 7-3 with a sparkling 2.50 ERA to go along with 11 saves. He pretty much pitched just like this all year. The team has everything to gain by installing him as closer, not only because he can get the job done, but because they can try to drive his potential trade value up for interested suitors. The Twins and Cubs reportedly are mulling over whether to acquire him. Toronto could squeeze a lot of saves out of him, then ship him out of town at the deadline, or if they so choose, receive higher draft pick compensation when he leaves at the conclusion of the season.

As for Downs and Gregg, the organization is hoping Downs can reclaim his status as a dominant 8th inning man so his market value is sky high. His contract also runs out after the season, so the same reasoning that is applied to Frasor works for him. Gregg, meanwhile, could slide into either role if Frasor or Downs is dealt, or leave after the campaign and also net the Jays another draft pick.

It's the kind of innovative thinking that former New York Mets General Manager turned ESPN Baseball analyst Steve Phillips couldn't quite grasp.

UPDATE: Frasor has indeed been named Blue Jays closer to begin the season.

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