The relief market may have just heated up in Boston.
Hideki Okajima continued his worst major-league season to date and was directly responsible for giving up three runs in a Mariners rally on Sunday.
That might be good news for the Blue Jays, who have Jason Frasor, Scott Downs and Kevin Gregg on the market. Downs would give the Red Sox a second lefty in the bullpen -- and their only reliable one. The Jays, however, are asking a ton for Downs.
As FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal says , the price is so high that the Dodgers went scurrying away.
Other teams named in the hunt for one or more of the Jays relievers include the Yankees, Mets, Reds and Twins, says Rosenthal's co-writer, Jon Paul Morosi. None of these names comes as a surprise -- virtually every team in contention every year is always in the market to add more relief pitching.
Toronto won't give away any for pennies on the dollar, though. Frasor is a free agent after the year and should theoretically be the easiest to get. By the same token, however, he's not as sought after as Gregg or Downs. Gregg has an affordable club option for 2011 -- and potentially one for 2012 as well. He's had a successful year closing for the Jays.
Downs, a lefty, has been one of the best setup men in the game for a while and will likely qualify as a Type A free agent. This means that if he signs with another team, the Jays could potentially get a first-round and complementary pick after the first round. That's keeping Downs' price up as even accepting arbitration wouldn't make Downs' 2011 salary prohibitive for Toronto. Understandably, then, they are asking a significant amount.
A deal can't get done, though, if Toronto doesn't realize that for all of Downs' talents, he's a reliever. You don't trade top prospects for a reliever unless young and extremely good -- like Joakim Soria. Downs' value is suppressed somewhat by saves, but he's still better than some of the closers in the game.
-- Evan Brunell
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