Bolstering the Bullpen
|Image courtesy of Daylife via AP|
After five months on the south side of Chicago, Jason Frasor is now back in familiar territory with the Toronto Blue Jays. For his family’s sake, I hope he didn’t already sell his place in Toronto back in July.
Bolstering the bullpen was one of Alex Anthopoulos’ top off-season priorities, and with the acquisition of Jason Frasor and pending a physical of Darren Oliver, AA can safely cross that one off the list.
The miraculious part of all of this is the Blue Jays were able to plug the holes in the bullpen by means of just a few trades. All it took was three prospects to get two major league relievers in Sergio Santos and Jason Frasor.
Even though the Darren Oliver signing isn’t official yet, one can assume the terms will be pretty reasonable as well. When all is said and done, it’s a very small price to pay to assemble a team of high calibre relievers.
When it comes to Frasor, I think it was a case of “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”. Jason Frasor was a mainstay with the Blue Jays bullpen for so long that I think I just took him for granted.
During his eight year tenure with the Blue Jays and 465 career appearances, Frasor quietly developed into one of the most unheralded and underrated relievers in the club’s history. I think part of the reason for that is he never really settled into a defined role until his final few seasons.
It’s incredible to think Frasor had two different test drives as the Blue Jays closer; once during his rookie campaign in 2004, and another in 2009. Then there were a few successful stints as the setup man, proving that Jason really has bounced all over the bullpen.
All I can say is it’s very reassuring to have a veteran right-handed weapon like Jason Frasor back in the arsenal, and I’m sure John Farrell will thoroughly enjoy his presence back in the bullpen.
So with the recent additions of Jason Frasor, Sergio Santos and Darren Oliver, the Blue Jays have shored up a good looking bullpen (on paper at least). There’s no question there is now a great deal of bullpen depth on Toronto’s 40-man roster.
Assuming the Blue Jays go with a four-man bench and seven-man bullpen, that means the relievers will likely be comprised of Sergio Santos, Jason Frasor, Casey Janssen, Carlos Villanueva, Jesse Litsch, Darren Oliver (pending) and Luis Perez.
That leaves Joel Carreno, Chad Beck, Aaron Laffey, Jim Hoey and others on the outside looking in. Personally, I’d consider Carreno a favourite to crack the Opening Day roster, but even if he doesn’t, it’s a luxury to have him in Las Vegas waiting in the wings just in case of an injury.
After a bit of a disappointing season in regards to relief pitching, Alex Anthopoulos has quickly remedied the situation and bolstered the bullpen quite nicely. What used to be a bit of a weakness on the roster will hopefully be a strength.
There will undoubtedly be some question marks on the roster this coming season, but at least relief pitching is one aspect of the Blue Jays game that we won’t have to worry about very much in 2012.