I wanted to touch on what the loss of league means for the Blue Jays pen, but first have to review what Brandon League‘s potential benefit to the Mariners is. He was drafted in the second round of the 2001 draft, and began his career as a starter, making it all the way to AAA as a starter before being converted to a reliever. His lack of secondary pitching is what prompted the move, and Brandon started pitching primarily out of the pen in 2006 (23). He saved 8 games that year in AAA and held a 2.14 ERA over 54 IP with 43 Ks and 15 BB. He never left the pen again, and 2007 was supposed to be his big year, but an odd off season regimen put an end to that, when Brandon decided to bulk up (being the over dedicated individual he is) and injured himself early on in the season as a result of the muscle imbalance. So, 2007 was a write-off, but Brandon showed his stuff was still awesome in 2008 and 2009. While he only has 2 saves to his credit since making it to Toronto, Brandon does have the potential to be a closer and was seen as the heir apparent before he injured himself in 2007, opening the door for Jeremy Accardo to take the role on. Enjoy watching Brandon pitch Seattle fans, he’ll do his best 100% of the time.
Now, back to the Jays pen and what the loss of League means to its depth chart. The Jays definitely dealt from a position of strength and increased talent in a position that needed it in this deal. I’ll make a few points before revising the depth chart.
- In no way shape or form do I expect Jeremy Accardo to be with the Blue Jays when we begin 2010 unless something is done to reassure him his role will be 100% with the Jays;
- Brian Tallet heightened his net worth to any team by 300% last season, making him a valuable trade chip, therefore I do expect he may be dealt before the season starts. However, he is one of few LHP relievers the Jays have, and his versatility as spot starter is a major asset for the Jays, so I’m not sure they’ll get enough in return to move him;
- Scott Downs is the most expensive reliever the Jays have and is a FA after 2010, so I expect him to be traded before the season begins;
- While Jason Frasor will also be a FA after 2010, I do expect the Jays will try to resign him since he will cost less than Downs would. He appreciated the fact that the Jays allowed him to close last year so much, that I expect him to take a slight discount to remain with the club;
- With Brandon Morrow coming in from Seattle, Scott Richmond will most likely return to AAA unless he is dealt, but there’s also a chance he returns to the pen as a long-reliever if Tallet is dealt;
- Casey Janssen may also be dealt. Just like Tallet, Janssen has the ability to start and can at the least provide long relief when needed.
So, with these things in mind, I will post 2 versions of the Blue Jays pen. One that is as we stand today, and one that is what I expect it to look like once players are dealt (although there’s no guarantee they’ll be dealt until the trade deadline comes around, so they could begin the year with the Jays) Pen as is:
- RHP Jason Frasor - Closer
- LHP Scott Downs – Setup
- LHP Jesse Carlson
- RHP Shawn Camp
- LHP Brian Tallet
- RHP Jeremy Accardo
- RHP Casey Janssen
Reserves and AAA assets include: RHP Dick Hayhurst, RHP Josh Roenicke, RHP Daniel Farquhar, RHP Jonah Bayliss, RHP Bryan Bullington, LHP Bill Murphy. What I expect it to look like at some point in 2010:
- RHP Jason Frasor – Closer
- LHP Jesse Carlson - Setup
- RHP Shawn Camp
- LHP Brian Tallet
- RHP Bryan Bullington
- RHP Josh Roenicke
- RHP Daniel Farquhar
I expect Casey Janssen, Scott Downs, and Jeremy Accardo will be dealt before or during the 2010 season. Each one has a decent worth in trade and should provide Alex Anthopoulos some pretty good ammunition to use in trading. We all know the Jays need a SS of the future and a better option in both 3B and CF, so let’s hope those are his targets when dealing these relievers, Lyle Overbay, and Edwin Encarnacion. Still, the Jays pen looks strong with a very deep core. Minor League reliever LHP Tim Collins is also on the way from AA and could make an impact with the Jays as soon as 2010. It will be interesting to see what Alex is able to get in return, as he has shown masterful in other deals. Keep it up Alex, we’re enjoying every single move you make!