Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry continues his quest for a veteran, right-handed reliever for the bullpen. But is he getting ready to rob Peter to pay Paul?
After confirming the Cubs’ interest in Toronto Blue Jays reliever Jason Frasor, Bruce Levine had this to say:
Frasor has a good power arm, seems to have something left at age 32. He’s a free agent after next season and arbitration eligible. Toronto would want pitching in return. They’ve expressed some interest in Angel Guzman.
Now, before we erupt in cries of execration – this is just Levine shooting from the hip, and explaining what he’s heard Toronto has expressed interest in. This is not Levine saying that the Cubs have offered Toronto Angel Guzman for Frasor.
But if they have or they do…
SWEET JESUS NO!
Frasor, a free agent after this year, is set to get a substantial raise from his 2009 salary of $1.45 million. Frasor had a dominant 2009 – 2.50 ERA in 57.2 innings, with a 1.023 WHIP – so we’ll give him that. But it was also a career year by far. His lowest ERA in any of the previous three seasons? 4.18. Frasor also turns 33 next season.
Compare all of that with Angel Guzman. Guzman is headed to arbitration for the first time, meaning he’s under inexpensive control for three more years. Guzman also had a dominant 2009 – 2.95 ERA in 61 innings, with a 1.049 WHIP. It, too, was Guzman’s best year so far in his career. Guzman will be 28 all season.
Am I going to argue that Guzman is surely better than Frasor? No. The stats, and Guzman’s questionable durability, simply wouldn’t back that up. But when you stack Frasor’s slightly more predictable track record against Guzman’s cheap, three-year control and far greater upside, this isn’t even a remotely close question.
Guzman, let’s not forget, was one of the bright spots in last year’s dismal bullpen.