Hi all - hope everyone is doing well. It has been an interesting 4-day weekend here in Washington DC, to say the least. The city all but bursted at the seams, but it was great fun, so I've no complaints.
The Jays, who have yet to go to an arbitration hearing with a player while JP Ricciardi has been at the helm, reached agreement with 4 arbitration-eligible players over the past few days. All the deals cover the 2009 season. Here are the figures:
Jose Bautista: $2.4 million. I have to admit, this seems like an awful lot for a team that is too cash strapped to sign anyone. As insurance at third and a right handed bat off the bench with some power, Bautista fills a need, but I have a hard time believing the Jays couldn't get more for less, particularly in this market. Of course, as we saw with Reed Johnson last year, Jose hasn't made the team yet. Bautista didn't have much of a season last year, and got worse after joining the Jays (.214/.237/.411).
Jason Frasor: $1.45 million. Seems like the odd man out of the Jays bullpen to me, but not sure if the Jays will find a taker in this market and that price. Still, if the Jays decide to make a deal, Frasor could be a useful pot sweetener. Frasor did a nice job getting strikeouts last year and also stopping inherited runners from scoring, but overall, the numbers (42/32 K/BB ratio, 1.44 WHIP) weren't there.
Jeremy Accardo: $0.9 million plus incentives. Accardo barely pitched at all last season but did a great job as the fill-in closer in 2007. If he's healthy, he could be a big contributor in 2009. That said, the Jays have never seemed to be all that high on him.
Brandon League: $0.64 million. League, who was arbitration-eligible for the first time, was solid last season after a shaky start. He got a ton of groundballs and the Ks and Walks normalized as his control solidified with regular work. Fans will remember this is the second time the Jays are counting on League after a very good half-season - hopefully it works out better this time.
Deals have yet to be agreed upon between the Jays and two members of the '08 bullpen - southpaw Brian Tallet and starboardsider Shawn Camp. Like Frasor, I'd consider both potential trade bait, but someone would have to be interested first. Tallet is better than most of the lefties still out there.
Today's title from the great, great Gram Parsons song.