Frasor takes arbitration from Jays, three decline
Downs, Gregg, Olivo pass on club's offer prior to deadline
TORONTO -- Right-hander Jason Frasor accepted arbitration from the Blue Jays, while relievers Scott Downs, Kevin Gregg and catcher Miguel Olivo turned down the offer prior to Tuesday night's 11:59 ET deadline.
Frasor, who went 3-4 with a 3.68 ERA last season, is in line to receive a raise on the $2.65 million he made in 2010. According to multiple online reports, the 33-year-old was in talks with several teams leading up to the deadline but was unable to get a deal done and instead opted for arbitration.
Frasor likely made the decision because he was concerned his Type A free-agent status would scare off other teams. As a top-ranked free agent, clubs would have been forced to part with one of their top picks in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft to sign the veteran reliever.
While Frasor's decision means the Blue Jays will miss out on a pair of compensation picks, he will be a welcome addition to a bullpen that could be without the services of Downs and Gregg next season.
Downs, also a Type A free agent, has established himself as one of the elite middle relievers in the game. Downs reportedly has drawn interest from teams such as the Red Sox and Yankees, and he appears confident he will receive a multiyear contract offer.
Last season, the native of Kentucky averaged seven strikeouts and 2.1 walks per nine innings. He likely is seeking a contract similar to the one right-hander Joaquin Benoit recently signed with Detroit (three years, $16.5 million).
If Downs signs with another team, the Blue Jays will receive a pair of picks guaranteed in the first three rounds of the Draft. One of those selections will fall between the first and second round of the Draft, while the other depends on which team signs the 34-year-old.
In the case of Gregg and Olivo, teams will not have to forfeit a Draft pick if they are able to sign either player, because they are classified as Type B free agents. The Blue Jays, though, would receive a compensation pick between the first and second round for each player if they sign with another club.
The 32-year-old Gregg recorded a career-high 37 saves for Toronto in 2010, while posting a 2-6 record with a 3.51 ERA. He also struck out 58 batters over 59 innings, but at times, Gregg struggled with his control and allowed 30 walks.
Earlier this month, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos declined to pick up a pair of options on Gregg's contract. The club could have exercised a one-year club option worth $5.25 million or a two-year club option worth $9.5 million. It still remains a possibility that Gregg could work out a free-agent contract with Toronto.
Olivo shouldn't have any trouble finding a multiyear contract because of the lack of depth in the free-agent pool for catchers. The 32-year-old hit .269 with 14 home runs and 58 RBIs in 112 games last season.
The Blue Jays already know they will receive one compensation Draft pick for catcher John Buck, who recently signed a three-year, $18 contract with the Florida Marlins. Buck was offered arbitration by Toronto in what was a mere formality to ensure a compensation pick would be granted to the Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays are now eligible to have eight picks in the first three rounds of next year's Draft. That's one less than the club received in 2010 after free agents Marco Scutaro and Rod Barajas left for other teams.