Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jason Frasor's name pops up in trade rumours

Jason Frasor's name has been bandied about in potential trade rumours for the past few months, and according to ESPN'S Jerry Crasnick via the Chicago Cubs have inquired about the availability of the 32 year old reliever. The Cubbies were said to be interested in him a few months back, and after losing Angel Guzman to a season ending shoulder injury, their interest has piqued once again.

So the question remains, should the organization move Frasor in his contract year, arguably at his highest trade value? Or hang on to him? The diminuitive righty is coming off a career year, where he went 7-3, saving 11 games while posting a brilliant 2.50 ERA. However, the Jays signed Kevin Gregg in the off-season to shoulder the load in the later innings, and also have another reliable reliever in Scott Downs in the bullpen.

Ultimately the decision will be made based on the value of the player coming back to Toronto. Frasor qualifies as a type B free agent, meaning if the club lets him walk at the end of the year, they are entitled to a 2nd round draft pick as compensation. I can’t see any team giving the Blue Jays a better prospect than what a 2nd rounder could net, though G.M. Alex Anthopoulos pulled off a heist by trading reliever Brandon League for Brandon Morrow in the off-season. The team might ultimately decide that it would rather have a proven reliever to aid the young pitching staff along with a good draft selection than to trade him away for a low ceiling prospect.

UPDATE: MLB Trade Rumors has reported the Minnesota Twins are also interested in Frasor given that closer Joe Nathan might miss the season with a torn ligament in his elbow. Several Toronto scouts are now appearing at Twins games according to Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun.

Arencibia knocking on the major league door

Blue Jays catching prospect J.P. Arencibia certainly knows how to make a good impression. He did so coming out of college at Tennessee, prompting the club to select him with the 21st pick in the 2007 draft. The 6' 215 lb. righty also has been showing off his vast potential during the spring, homering in each of his three contests, which has him knocking on the door for a promotion to the big leagues.

It hasn't always been easy for the Jays "catcher of the future." Since birth, Arencibia has had a problematic kidney condition, one that nearly caused him to need it removed last season. It was also discovered that he dealt with vision problems, prompting him to undergo lasik eye surgery. That might explain why the catcher hit just .227 in 97 night games compared to .284 in 19 afternoon contests.

The perception last season in AAA Las Vegas was that he had a down year. While he did have a pedestrian batting average of .236, he clubbed an impressive 21 home runs while driving in 75 runs. Couple that with his scorching hot end to the campaign in which he smacked 6 home runs and plated 15 runs in his final 10 games, and the season can't be characterized as a complete failure. The biggest hurdle Arencibia faced was improving his defense behind the plate, which he worked extremely hard on, gaining recognition for his efforts.

Arencibia is almost certainly ticketed to AAA Las Vegas to begin the season, barring injury to the presumptive starting catcher John Buck or backups Jose Molina and Raul Chavez. If the talented youngster can continue tearing the cover off the baseball and getting better behind the dish, there is optimism he could earn a promotion to Toronto sooner rather than later.