You can insert your own standard caveat about how early it is in the season to even consider having these sorts of conversations. But what is the point of having the role of a closer and the save stat if you can't piss and moan about it every time the man in the role hacks it up.
Thus, piss and moan we shall.
It could be that the members of Tank Nation could give a fuck about how the Jays seal the deal to win games because, somehow, being the worst team in the league is going to guarantee that we draft first and get our shot at the next Dale Hawerchuk. But we're convinced that winning breeds winning, and young players who play on teams who find ways to win develop a culture and a mindset that promotes winning in the future. And if learning how to win a seemingly meaningless game in April 2010 means that The Rosy-Cheeked Phenom is in the proper headspace to hit a walkoff dinger in October of 2013, then let's learn to win now. Shall we? Mmmmkay?
So far this season, every Jays game has had a save situation, and given the razor-thin margin for error that the team will have, they will be in plenty of close games. And if we're going to try to win games every night, let's at least have a look at what is going on with the closer now so that we're not handing back wins in April that might make this team look respectable in September.
So let's get down to brass tacks: The Jason Frasor that has taken the mound five times this year is not The Sausage King. Frasor's velocity is down (91.2 MPH vs 93.8 on average last year), and our guess is that he knows it. He's trying to finesse his way around at bats.
Where The Sausage King of 2009 went after hitters, stepping on their throats with fastballs for strikes to get ahead in the count, then kicked them in the teeth with his reprehensibly nasty off-speed foshiness. But Jason Frasor 2010 is attempting to tickle-fight hitters into submission, tossing pitches on the margins of the zone, falling behind and having get-me-over pitches sent back the other way at alarming rates. In his first 4.1 innings pitched, he's given up eight hits, including three doubles and a homer to go along with three walks. And were it not for his ability to squirm his way out of some of these predicaments with his six strikeouts, we're sure that he would have given up more than just three runs and two wins.
Okay, let's snap back to reality: Just one week of the season is down, and there are 25 more to get through, so it is probably too early to start making rash decisions on bullpen roles. It's been a crappy week for Frasor, and a good week for big giant manly-man closer-type dude Kevin Gregg. (Although surprisingly, Gregg's fastball velocity is clocking in at just 91.9 MPH, which is shocking to us considering the way we've swooned every time he shot puts a heater past someone.)
Frasor's progress over the next few weeks bears monitoring. If the velocity comes back or balls start finding gloves or Frasor starts getting calls, then we can all chill. But a few more walks and a few more extra base hits, and just maybe The Manager should put loyalties aside and look to find the most effective arm in the bullpen to shut things down.