Tag:Scott Downs
Posted on: July 8, 2010 1:11 pm
 

Jays have pieces to deal


With their recent slide, the Blue Jays have slipped into the seller's mode as the trade deadline approaches and ESPN's Buster Onley points out they may have the best-stocked store.

Every contender needs bullpen help, it's the nature of the beast, and the Blue Jays have three relievers they could dangle -- left-hander Scott Downs, right-hander Jason Frasor and closer Kevin Gregg, who has 19 saves and would be a boost as a set-up man to most teams.

Jose Bautista has 22 homers and can play multiple positions, making his trade value as high as it may ever be.

John Buck is solid behind the plate and having a good season and is a free agent after the season. He's a low-risk move for any team that needs insurance behind the plate.

Lyle Overbay isn't sexy, but he is in the final season of his contract and could help a team looking for corner infield help. Overbay is hitting .244/.322/.405 with nine homers and 30 RBI. He has been hot, though, hitting .284/.370/.407 over the last four weeks.

Toronto was a nice early-season story, but they're now a game under .500, 9 1/2 out in the wild card and stuck in the American League East. There are blocks to build upon for the future, and the right moves now could add to those blocks.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 7, 2010 7:23 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2010 7:23 pm
 

Dodgers searching for pitching

Roy Oswalt The Dodgers have spoken to the Astros, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks, Indians and Mariners about solutions to the Dodgers' pitching conundrum, reports Evan Drellich of MLB.com. The Dodgers need both starters and relievers.

Manager Joe Torre said that pitching is what the Dodgers are focusing on in any particular deal and expects a deal to eventually be swung. Complicating things is that Los Angeles doesn't have much left in the budget to add, thanks to the brewing divorce between owner Frank McCourt and his wife as well as a current payroll of $102 million according to Cot's Contracts.

So which pitchers could the Dodgers get from the aforementioned teams? Let's take a look.

Astros: Houston has starting pitcher Brett Myers available who is on a one-year deal and has been the second-best starter on the team with a 3.57 ERA. Of course, there's also Roy Oswalt (pictured), who has a standing trade "request" but is due $15 million over the balance of 2010 and $16 million in 2011. And who's to say Oswalt won't demand the $16 million team option for 2012 be picked up if he's traded? With a full no-trade clause, Oswalt has that ability.

The Astros also have a number of relief arms, but none that stand out as an optimal replacement for the Dodgers' current arms -- at least, that would be available. Brandon Lyon is near untradable and it's tough to imagine Houston parting with Matt Lindstrom.

Blue Jays:
The Jays have lost 12 of the last 15 and are in fourth place in the AL (B)East, 11 1/2 games out. It's safe to say the honeymoon is over, and the Jays have plenty of pitching available. Their starting pitching are all young, cost-controllable and quality so it's hard to imagine Toronto dealing any of those. The relievers, on the other hand, should be plentiful.

Kevin Gregg has extensive experience pitching in the NL and in close games. He's posted a 3.94 ERA over 32 innings. Left-hander Scott Downs, one of the best setup men in the bigs, is having another fantastic season and Shawn Camp has emerged as another qualty bullpen arm. Casey Janssen is just 28 and is a quality middle relief arm but certainly fungible to a rebuilding squad.

Diamondbacks:
Now that the GM and manager have been offered a ticket out of town, interim GM Jerry DiPoto has a lot of decisions to make. One of which is if Dan Haren should be traded, something outgoing GM Josh Byrnes also grappled with. Haren is inked through 2012, getting $8.25 million in 2010 and $12.75 million in 2011 and 2012, affordable for a perennial Cy Young contender. The question here is two-fold:

First being if the Diamondbacks would be willing to swap Haren to an intradivision rival, the second if the Dodgers have enough in the farm system to acquire Haren. The Dodgers were ranked No. 21 in minor-league talent rankings by Baseball America prior to the season and Haren figures to command more than Lee will.

Indians:
The Indians have Jake Westbrook most available, who is finishing up a contract that pays him $11 million on the season. Cleveland is ready to have a fire sale (as detailed here ) but has yet to find anyone to their liking that has been dangled for Westbrook. Westbrook would cost significantly less than one of the top-tier pitchers on the market in terms of prospects due to the contract and the fact he is a mid-rotation starter.

Kerry Wood, provided the Indians chipped in a healthy sum of money to make up for about $5 million remaining on Wood's deal, could also head to the Dodgers.

Mariners:
The obvious one is Cliff Lee, of course. With about $4 million remaining to Lee, he would easily fit into the Dodgers' payroll. He would also allow Los Angeles a way to beef up its farm system by offering arbitration to the lefty after the season -- which Lee would certainly decline. The Dodgers' payroll collapses to a projected $61 million next year, so a Lee extension is possible as well.

Other potential names that may have been swapped could include closer David Aardsma who could fit in a pitcher's park throwing gas as a setupman. Relief pitcher Brandon League is having a solid season as well.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 23, 2010 2:20 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2010 2:50 pm
 

Are Blue Jays buyers or sellers?

Shaun Marcum Sports Illustrated 's Jon Heyman tweeted that the Blue Jays may be a source of pitching-rich depth as the trade deadline approaches.

Heyman specifically names Jason Frasor, Scott Downs and Shaun Marcum (pictured) as pitchers that can be traded, although Ricky Romero is in the "untouchable" camp.

Toronto is likely grappling with the decision on whether to buy or sell.

The Blue Jays are currently fourth in the highly-competitive AL East with an impressive 38-33 record that places them six games behind the Yankees for first place. With the Rays and Red Sox nipping at the Yankees and all three teams boasting baseball's best records, it's hard to imagine Toronto has a realistic shot at the playoffs.

However, this season certainly has to be considered a success so far. It's not often one trades the best pitcher in the game (Roy Halladay) and improves. In addition, public relations has to be taken into account: with the team's success, how would it look if Toronto started selling off parts?

Frasor, 32, currently has a 5.40 ERA in 28 1/3 innings, but ERA has to be taken with a grain of salt with relievers as their innings total is so low. He is striking out 9.8 batters per nine innings, which is a career-high although he is also giving up 5.1 walks per nine, which would be the second-worst mark of his career. He's still one of the game's better middle relievers who has experience closing.

Given his poor performance to date, Toronto could probably justify dealing him, especially if they replace Frasor with Josh Roenicke, dominating Triple-A and having been acquired in last season's Scott Rolen trade.

Downs is older than Frasor at age 34, but is having a better season and continuing a four-year streak of being one of the best left-handed relievers in the game. The lefty has a 3.34 ERA in 29 2/3 innings and would most likely bring back a better piece than Frasor. Journeyman left-hander Sean Henn  has a sub-2 ERA for Triple-A Las Vegas, so there is a ready-made replacement for Downs, but it's possible Henn has mastered Triple-A but not the majors. Additionally, even with strong replacements available in the minor leagues, to trade the team's two best relievers doesn't exactly send a positive signal to the fanbase.

The last pitcher named a possibility to be traded, Marcum, has made 15 starts on the year for an impressive 3.24 ERA. He was one of the league's burgeoning young pitchers before going under the knife and missing all of 2009. He hasn't missed a beat in his return and while the Jays are flush with plenty of starting pitching, it would be especially tough to justify to the fan base the dealing of Marcum. It's simply not likely to happen, especially when the team can slot Marcum in the rotation for at least two more years.

The Blue Jays are caught in no-man's land between having a season that dictates not rebuilding, but being in a division and with a team that isn't likely to have long-term success. The club has quite a tough road to navigate between now and the trading deadline.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
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