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Bluebird Banter Trade Deadline Roundtable, Part II

Hi everyone.  It's time for the next installment of the Annual Bluebird Banter Trade Deadline Roundtable.  Part I was right here.  Again, our participants are JesseF, Tom Dakers, myself, and special guest star JohnnyG.  We look at this as just the beginning of the discussion, so keep it going with your own thoughts in the comments.  Enjoy the off-day!

Hugo:  How about Scott Rolen?  He is having a tremendous season and is under contract for one more season, but of course lingering injury concerns have to remain.

Tom: The trouble with trading Rolen is that we don't have an obviously 3B prospect ready to go. A challenge trade of trading a 3B for a 3B (like we did with Glaus to get Rolen) isn't likely to happen again. If someone had a good enough 3B to trade straight up for Rolen, why would they want to trade him?  So trading Rolen almost forces a second trade.

Jesse: What the Jays do with Rolen is entirely up to their plans for 2010.  If they want to compete next season, they are going to have to hold onto him, unless they want to make a blockbuster deal.  One thing that I don't think anyone has considered is packaging Halladay with Rolen to upgrade (or at least not significantly downgrade) at third, while also getting some prospects.  That is, of course, a lot of salary for a team to take on, but if they traded back a ML veteran in addition to the prospects that could offset the salary issue somewhat.  If management doesn't think the team will be competing in 2010, I think they should trade Rolen now.

JohnnyG: I love Scott the Rock Rolen, his defense... sweeeeet. His Bat... AWESOME... Ok I'm done. I have to think Rolen is trade bait, but not so much that if the Jays can't get anything for him that should dump him for the best offer. The problem being is the market is much smaller for Rolen vs. Halladay. Everyone and I mean everyone could use a Halladay because you could always use a pitcher. Does every contending team need a new 3B? Off the top of my head maybe Milwaukee, The Phillies may want an upgrade over Feliz. Packaging him with Halladay may help but as Jesse pointed out but that is a lot of salary to take on. Bottom line for me is pretty much the same as Halladay, if you don't get a decent offer for him that should include a decent prospect (preferably a decent 3B one) then just pass and let him play out the rest of his tenor next year and maybe look at next years deadline.

Hugo:  My take is that If the Jays are serious about putting a competitive team on the field next season, they have to either keep Scott Rolen or acquire a third-baseman to replace him.  The Jays have no one in the organization ready to step up and man third, unless you count a platoon involving Jose Bautista and either Scott Campbell or Joe Inglett.  That said, if the Jays could move Rolen to a contender for a young third baseman with some power potential, that would be tremendous.  Of course, as you have all pointed out, that is far easier said than done. 
Still, with Rolen's value high right now, it can't hurt to ask around.

Tom: Is it posible that Campbell could be a decent major league 3B next year? He doesn't have the power we'd like to see but then Rolen likely won't get more than 10 homers this year.

Hugo:  Sure, it's possible.  He was pretty impressive in the Spring and you have to like his ability to get on base.  But AAA wasn't kind to him the first-time around and after that, he's had a number of nagging injuries.  They've prevented him from developing, particularly defensively, so it's tough to say he could be capable of the job next year.  I'd like to see what he does in the second half and then I could see him making the team as a utility player next year and trying to work his way into the lineup that way.  Even if he can get on base like Rolen has this year, he won't field like him.    

Hugo:  Moving on,  Marco Scutaro is a free agent after this season and could very well be a Type A free agent.  Do you think the Jays would be better served to trade him now, to attempt to resign him, or to offer him arbitration at the end of the season and, assuming he declines, take the draft picks? 

Tom: I'd like them to try to sign him to a 2 year contract, he's getting to the age that much beyond 2 years we might be seeing some decline but I think we need a couple of years for one of our top SS prospects Justin Jackson or Tyler Pastornicky to develop to where they can take the job. I'll admit I really like Pastornicky quite a bit, he has the sort of speed we don't have on the team at the moment.

Jesse: I would like to see them offer him a one year deal with a vesting option (contingent on him playing 130 games) for the second year.  If they cannot resign him, I would prefer to offer arbitration and take the two draft picks after this season because I think most teams are going to undervalue Scutaro and would not be willing to give up any significant prospects for him.  If he accepts arbitration, that is fine with me as well -- I doubt he will make more in arbitration than he would through free agency.

JohnnyG: I would like to see them offer a 2 year deal but be sensible about it. Yes Scoots is having a great year but let's not go overboard here, Scoot is making 1.1Mil this year. In comparison Johnny Mac Makes 1.9 Mil this year and has his contract expire at the end of the year as well. Offer Scott something over 2Mil a season for 2 years Maybe in the 2.5-3.0 Range perhaps with some additional bonuses if he hits certain numbers again. If he wants more let it go to arbitration and pick up the draft picks if it doesn't work out.

Hugo:  I don't think those offers are going to be enough to keep Scutaro, though I agree with making the offer.  I have no idea what the market for him is going to be like, but my guess is that, coming off a bit year, he will feel comfortable testing the market and taking the chance that the Jays won't fill their SS hole in the meantime, allowing him to go back to the Jays if he has to.  As for our long-term SS picture, Pastornicky is having a good season and just needs to develop some power.  It looks almost certain, though, that Jackson is going to need to repeat Dunedin, and that's going to hold Pastornicky back a bit.   

Tom: No chance Pastornicky can skip past Jackson? They are about the same age.

Hugo:  Well, there's one way I could see it happening.   Pastornicky has been good but he would have to put up a monster year, and Jackson really fall off, for them to just switch places.  The Jays still expect Jackson to develop at the plate.  It could happen if Jackson gets injured, though, and Pastornicky has to be called up to fill the void, and excels. 

Hugo:  How about the Jays' bullpen arms?  Jason Frasor is having a very nice season - he and Scott Downs are both free agents after 2010 - should the Jays look to trade one or both of them?

Tom: High on my wish list is keeping Downs. Frasor has had an up and down run with the Jays, I'd like to trade him quick while he's up. The other half is, I kind of doubt that he would resign with the Jays, since much of his time here he hasn't had the confidence of his manager.

Jesse: I would like them to resign Downs, his stuff is just as nasty as ever and he doesn't rely on a hard fastball so I don't see why he can't pitch well for another few seasons.  As far as Frasor, is Jayson Werth available?  All joking aside, outside of 2008, Frasor's had solid K/BB ratios throughout his career and while he's been lucky this season, I think he was quite unlucky in 2007.  Although his stock is higher now than it probably will be next year, he is a quality major-league setup man, so if you do trade him, you want something useful in return.

JohnnyG: Resign Downs. And quickly too before he racks up too many saves and his agent can use that as leverage. As I mentioned above, Frasor is a prime trade target for someone looking to help bolster their bullpen. And from what I can find, (using Cot's) Frasor is signed only through this year so he would be a FA in this coming offseason, Downs is signed through next season. If this is actually the case I say trading Frasor if possible is the right move.

Hugo:  I think Frasor was a super-2 so I think that while his contract is just for this year, he is under team control for one more season after this one.  Cot's has him listed as a 2011 free agent.  I like the idea of extending Downs, personally, I think he's as good a bet to hold down the closer job as anyone, but I'm not sure Downs will negotiate during the season; he is reputed to be very superstitious.  The only issue with keeping him is how much it would cost.  I'd trade Frasor if I could get a good return, but I wouldn't mind keeping him either if that didn't happen.  He and Downs could both well end up Type A free agents when their contracts expire - while a team normally gets better value for a player by trading him rather than letting him leave for the draft picks, relievers that are Type A can be a different matter because they often don't fetch all that much in return.  Justin Speier was a very effective pitcher for us but became Brett Cecil (and Eric Eiland) when he left.   Glad we didn't resign him!

JohnnyG: I stand corrected on Frasor. If the Jays still retain his rights then I think I would be more inclined to keep him and hope he has an even better year next year. Then maybe you could flip him next year, Again Relievers I believe are a little easier to find so I wouldn't mind losing him if he gets better and becomes a type A, that would be great news.

Join us again next time!