Here’s the final installment concerning non-tendered relievers that could interest the Jays going forward:
RP D.J. Carrasco – 2010 Club: Arizona Diamondbacks
A 26th round pick by the Baltimore Orioles in the 1997 draft, Carrasco had the best season of his career in 2010. He split time between the Pirates and Diamondbacks, where he put up a career best 3.68 ERA and 7.5 K/9 in a whopping 78.1 relief innings.
Not an overpowering pitcher by any means, the 6’4” 220-pound Carrasco had spent his entire career in the American League prior to 2010.
Carrasco, 33, features an impressive five pitch repertoire. He uses mostly his fastball and cutter, but mixes in a slider, curveball, and changeup as well.
Carrasco made only $950,000 in 2010 and was entering his 2nd year of arbitration eligibility before the Diamondbacks non-tendered him. It’s likely he could be obtained for a similar salary in 2011.
RP Jose Veras – 2010 Club: Florida Marlins
Signed by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as an amateur free agent in 1998, Veras, like D.J. Carrasco, had spent his entire career in the American League before signing a one-year, $550,000 contract with the Florida Marlins in the National League for 2010.
Similar to Carrasco again, Veras enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career in 2010. He has always battled control issues (career 5.0 BB/9), but managed a 3.75 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 48 innings of work. His 6.0 H/9 in 2010 was the lowest of his career as well.
Veras, 30, throws both a 4-seam fastball and split-fingered fastball, in addition to a curveball and the occasional slider.
Despite his obvious control issues, Veras could possibly sign a minor league contract given the countless relief options this year and be a cheap option for depth, if nothing else.
RP J.P. Howell – 2010 Club: Tampa Bay Rays
Howell suffered a shoulder injury during the 2009 season and required season-ending surgery that prevented him from pitching in 2010. The Rays want to bring him back for 2011 though, and for obvious reasons.
Prior to sustaining his injury, Howell went 13-6 and posted a combined 2.48 ERA, 9.9 K/9, 1.160 WHIP, and 20 saves in 156 innings during the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
An effective left-hander with closing experience, Howell, 27, has the ability to pitch a fastball, slider, cutter, curveball, and changeup to effectively mix up opposing hitters.
It would be interesting for the Jays to not only steal him away from the Rays, but also to see if he bounces back in 2011 and regains his dominant 2009 form.