Blue Jays should look at these under the radar relief trade options
Aug 11, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Carlos Frias (77) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the ninth inning at Turner Field. The Dodgers defeated the Braves 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
The Dodgers 25-year-old right-handed pitcher has spent seven years in the minor leagues, and while possessing a power arsenal, he hasn’t produced at any level that has placed him on any top prospect lists.
Despite that, and putting up mediocre numbers between AA and AAA in 2014, he was added to the 40-man roster, and received the call in August to work out of the Dodger pen, and provide a couple spot starts.
The 6.12 ERA is underwhelming, but that number was severely bloated by a spot start he made on September 17th in Colorado in which he gave up ten hits and 8 earned runs without getting through the first inning.
His 3.60 FIP, 8.07 K/9, and 1.95 BB/9 don’t tell the entire story either, but they show what the young arm is capable of. Frias made 15 appearances last season – two of them being starts – but he’s primarily been a starter throughout his minor league career.
The aforementioned underwhelming numbers between AA and AAA last year came virtually as a full time starter – he made one appearance out of the bullpen – and that wielded a 5.7 K/9 through 123.2 IP between the two levels. His BB/9 was a solid 2.2, and that number has increased throughout his time in the minor leagues, but the lack of strikeouts and consistently high ERA and FIP totals aren’t encouraging for his ability as a starter.
He possesses a terrific arm, averaging 95.36 with his four seam, 94.43 with his sinker, and 90.08 with his cutter. Even out of the pen, he managed to mix in all his pitches while keeping his walk rate low, and generating a 20.00% whiff percentage with his power cutter.
If he were to focus on two or maybe three pitches, he could flourish in a bullpen role with his velocity and low walk rate.
The Dodgers still think enough of the young pitcher’s potential to invite him to their winter development camp. It’s unclear if he’ll be pitching out of the bullpen or the rotation, but if there’s an opportunity to acquire him in a buy low scenario and switch him to full time relief duties, it’s something the Jays should definitely consider.
Perhaps this won’t be an option until the Dodgers give him another shot. If he fails to impress in spring, or finds himself in the minors struggling to produce consistently strong results, then it could become a possibility.
Next: Could extra Cubs arms fill Jays need?