Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Trade Fodder: Jason Frasor for Hak-Ju Lee?

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Image courtesy of Flickr user Let's Play Two
Yesterday, I was preparing to write a post about how the Blue Jays have quite the conundrum choosing from their three closer candidates in Jason Frasor, Scott Downs and Kevin Gregg.

Now it appears that decision just might become a whole lot easier.

It turns out that the Blue Jays three-headed closer monster could be reduced to two, as the Chicago Cubs are once again reported to be interested in Jason Frasor. While the Blue Jays have ample arms to chose from, the Chicago Cubs on the other hand are desperately seeking help in the bullpen.

After reading the Jason Frasor post on MLB Trade Rumors, the consensus in the comments seems to be that it would be fair for the Blue Jays to ask for the Cubs shortstop prospect Hak-Ju Lee.

Having not being too familiar with the Cubbies farm system, I searched the internets for any tidbit of information I could find on Hak-Ju Lee. Here is what ScoutingBook.com had to say about the Cubs prospect:
"A big, powerful shortstop from Korea, Cubs prospect Hak-Ju Lee is a polished hitter (.330/.399/.420 as an 18 year old at low-A Boise) who seems to have the footwork and arm to stick at shortstop. His 25 steals in 68 games is also a highlight. He should move quickly, and could reach AA by the end of 2010."
Lee would definitely bring some great speed and could fit in quite nicely as a dependable leadoff hitter  and fits the bill for the prototype of shortstop that Alex Anthopoulos has been so desperately seeking.

Another extremely promising aspects of Lee's game is his blistering speed on the basepaths. Last year with the Cubs Single A affiliate Boise Hawks, Lee swiped 25 bases in 62 games, having only been caught six times.

Scouts also boasted of his speed out of the batter's box, having been clocked in around 4.10 from the batter's box to first base. Somebody get Drew from Ghostrunner on First on the phone because it sounds like the Blue Jays just might stumble on to their own version of Ichiro.

If all it's going to take to acquire Hak-Lu Lee from the Cubs is Jason Frasor, Alex Anthopoulos should make the trade before the Cubs find another suitor. Right now, Frasor's value is at it's apex and they should pull the trigger on any offer from the Cubs that includes Lee.

Since they invited so many arms to Spring Training in the first place, the Blue Jays can easily afford to lose Frasor and thus opens the door for guys like Josh Roenicke, Zech Zenicola or even Merkin Valdez to make the roster.

6 comments:

  1. Fangraphs says he had 25 SB with 8 CS.

    His BABIP was through the roof last year, at .400. I think the numbers need to be scaled back a bit, but he's a great looking prospect. Only 19 now, big speed, ability to add gap power, hits lefties as good, if not better than righties. I'd do this trade in a second.

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  2. Please let this happen. Never a sure thing is a prospect, but this one sounds like the odds are high he will make it and stick at the major league level.

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  3. Whoops, looks like I got a little ambitious with an extra stolen base there. It's been fixed.

    A trade like this is definitely worth the gamble. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Frasor is eligible for free agency at the end of this season anyway. He will likely receive Type B status, maybe even Type A - which could net the Cubs a draft pick if they don't re-sign him.

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  4. Mattt, there are no guarantees with moves like this, but really what to the Blue Jays have to lose? Not a whole lot - they dump the $2.65 million of Frasor's salary, and it also opens up a spot on the roster for one of the young arms.

    Plus, the upside on acquiring Hak-Ju Lee is HUGE.

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  5. Baseball Prospectus' player comment for Lee is pretty positive:

    Young shortstops are often longer on promise than production, but Lee's minor league debut featured plenty of both. The consensus top prospect in the Northwest League displayed the plus speed and terrific defensive range scouts had expected, but Lee's lefty bat spoke volumes about his upside as well, as he hit for average and showed gap power while drawing enough walks to hit at the top of the order. Still a teenager, Lee is long and lean and might develop more power as he matures. Even if he doesn't, he should still be an asset both in the field and at the plate.

    That being said, his PETCOTA comparables are still kind of weak, considering that there is only 304 PA to draw upon - Mike White, Dion James, Eddie Williams and Tony Longmire.

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  6. The other thing I noticed about Lee was he made a TON of errors, but they said that's not unusual for a young fielder in Single A ball.

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