Rincewind: With the Jays' bullpen seemingly a strength, should the Jays look to trade from that strength in order to fill other holes?
Hugo: Definitely, if they can. If no one is traded and everyone returns from injury as expected, the Jays have BJ Ryan, Brandon League, Scott Downs, Casey Janssen, Jesse Carlson, Brian Wolfe, Jeremy Accardo and, if they want them, Brian Tallet, Shawn Camp, and Jason Frasor for bullpen jobs. Scott Richmond, Davis Romero, Brian Bullington, and others could easily step into bullpen roles as well. Even if Janssen is shifted to the rotation, that's too many quality arms in the bullpen. I say too many because it is inevitable in that situation that you will have excellent relievers pitching low-leverage innings and that is a waste of talent because it doesn't contribute substantially to whether the team wins or loses.
I do like the idea of keeping the bullpen deep because the Jays have rotation questions, so I'd focus on moving the most valuable pieces and seeing whether they could net an everyday player. If the Brewers would like to trade J.J. Hardy for B.J. Ryan and a pitching prospect, we should make that deal. If the Padres will let Khalil Greene go for Jason Frasor, it's a no brainer. If the Royals have soured on Billy Butler and are willing to give him up for a pitching prospect and a major-league reliever, let's do it. If the Rangers are looking to clear Hank Blalock's salary so they can afford a pitcher, we can give them a quality bullpen arm and take on Blalock's salary. I'm not suggesting these deals are reasonable, but they might be starting points. Relievers don't necessarily get much on the open market, but J.P. Ricciardi can be a keen evaluator of talent and so it's worth taking a look at what's out there.
Rincewind: I'd like the Jays to hang on to Downs, because he is so versatile, and League, because I see him as a future closer. I'd also like them to keep Carlson because he is a favourite of mine, but I know that's an irrational reason to keep a player. Beyond those I think if they can make a trade that would fill one of the holes I'm all for it. The trouble I see right now is that there is too many closers available on the free agent market. The Jays may have to wait to see how that shakes out before they can trade Ryan. Why would you give up something useful for Ryan and his $10 million a year contract if there are closers you could sign for the same money, without giving up a player.
Though shedding contracts might be that reason. I'm sure the Rangers would like to be without Blalock's contract and if they can get a quality arm at the same time, that might work. Same with the Padres and Greene, they suddenly don't have a closer, and they have a shortstop they don't want to pay. And I don't see them wanting to pay for a free agent closer. Maybe they could be sold on Accardo or Frasor as the closer. Apparently Hardy is a spare part for the Brewers, though I have a hard time understanding how a team couldn't find a spot for a player like that. Ryan would be a huge upgrade for them at closer. I do worry that JP won't be able to pull the trigger on a big trade.
Hugo: I agree, the market for closers just doesn't seem to be great right now. I wonder if that will change as the offseason progresses. If we could get a solid everyday player for some of our bullpen arms, I really think that would be a coup for JP. We just won't have enough high leverage innings for all of them, especially if we don't get help for the rotation and offense.
Part 1: Good and Bad of 2008
Part 2: Jays Priorities for the Offseason
Part 3: Should the Jays Rebuild?
PArt 4: Who Should Lead Off For the Jays?
Part 5: How Should the Jays Fill Out Their Rotation