General manager Alex Anthopoulos could be staring at three big holes to fill in the Blue Jays' bullpen by the end of Tuesday.
Closer Kevin Gregg, according to SI.com, is expected to turn down Toronto's offer of salary arbitration before Tuesday's deadline for major league free agents to decide whether to accept. Fellow relief pitchers Scott Downs and Jason Frasor might follow suit and leave the Blue Jays.
There is a better chance Frasor would accept over Downs because he is a Type A free agent, meaning any team that signs him must surrender a first-round draft pick. If the signing team finished in the bottom half of the 2010 major league standings, it would give up a second-round pick.
Type A free agents
- Scott Downs, RP
- Jason Frasor, RP
- Grant Balfour, RP
- Adrian Beltre, 3B
- Carl Crawford, OF
- Adam Dunn, OF/DH
- Frank Francisco, RP
- Paul Konerko, 1B
- Cliff Lee, SP
- Carl Pavano, SP
- Rafael Soriano, RP
- Jayson Werth, OF
In the event the signing team has already lost one or more draft picks for signing free agents, it sends its next-highest selection to the player's former squad.
Should Downs and/or Frasor accept arbitration, the Blue Jays would have them under contract for one year at a figure determined by the arbitration process.
No matter where a Type A free agent signs, his former team obtains a supplementary round pick in next June's amateur draft — plus the aforementioned pick of the signing club — if the team offered arbitration.
Teams that sign Type B free agents like Downs are not required to give up picks, but the team losing a Type B player receives a supplementary round selection.
Type B free agents
- Jesse Crain*, RP
- Randy Choate, RP
- Pedro Feliciano, RP
- Brad Hawpe, OF
- Aaron Heilman, RP
- Orlando Hudson, 2B
- Adam LaRoche, 1B
- Felipe Lopez, 2B/SS
- Miguel Olivo, C
- J.J. Putz, RP
- Chad Qualls, RP
* denotes Canadian
The Elias Sports Bureau ranks players Type A if they fall among the top 20 per cent at their position using traditional statistical data from the previous two seasons. A Type B player is one ranked in the top 21 to 40 per cent.
Entering Tuesday, there were 12 Type A players and 11 Type B players, including reliever Jesse Crain of Toronto, who has spent the past seven years with the Minnesota Twins.
The 29-year-old righty, like other Type Bs, probably wouldn't accept arbitration unless he didn't expect to receive a multi-year offer on the free market and felt he could earn more next season through arbitration.
Earlier this month, Anthopoulos elected not to exercise either of the two options in Gregg's contract. The 32-year-old pitcher had a $5.25-million US option for 2011 and a two-year option of $9.5 million for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
Gregg, 32, signed a one-year, $2.75-million deal in February after converting 23 of 30 save opportunities with the Chicago Cubs in 2009.
He saved a career-high 37 games in 46 chances in 2010 with a 2-6 record and 3.51 earned-run average.
Gregg is said to be drawing interest from the Los Angeles Angels, Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays.
The 34-year-old Downs posted a 5-5 mark and 2.64 ERA in 67 games, walking just 14 batters and fanning 48 in 61 1/3 innings pitched.
Frasor, 33, regressed from his career 2009 campaign in which he sported a 2.50 ERA and only 16 walks in 57 2/3 innings. The ERA rose to 3.68 in 63 2/3 innings this season and the walks jumped to 27.