Will BJ Ryan get one last chance?

It’s pretty amazing to realize just how far BJ Ryan has fallen these days.

He lost his job as closer earlier this season, before a DL stint sidelined him. I’m not entirely certain he was hurt, but Ryan clearly needed the break.

Still, most fans, especially during preseason, figured Ryan would be back. Most of us figured it would take some time, but eventually, our former closer would be our current closer once again. Yes, BJ looked horrible at that point, but the guy has been dominant in saving 30-plus games, and he had plenty of time to recover, rehab and come back strong…right?!

To his credit, Scott Downs didn’t just fall into his current (well, before the injury) role as closer. He took the bull by the horns and earned it, with his stellar work on the mound, dating back to last season. And it’s a good thing, too, because BJ can’t seem to figure it out.

With Downs firmly entrenched as the closer, there was no rush to have BJ pitching in pressure situations. Cito Gaston made it perfectly clear that Downs was the closer, and probably for the rest of the year. But fans had to wonder what would happen if he ever got hurt, and like practically every other Jays pitcher, Downs is now hurt.

Gaston immediately pointed to Jason Frasor as the interim closer, and with good reason. Frason, like Downs, has been fantastic this season, and was the obvious candidate to take over. Still, fans had to wonder whether BJ would now get a shot. He hasn’t been horrible lately, and in fact, hasn’t officially given up a run in 11 straight appearances. That stat is utter crap, of course, since Ryan’s allowed inherited runners to score, and he can’t seem to throw a clean inning, but still, BJ has improved ever so slightly.

Meanwhile, Frasor has struggled since taking over, and Gaston may be tempted to try Jeremy Accardo or Jesse Carlson next. The question is, will BJ ever get another shot?

I’m not saying he should. In fact, I would probably say he shouldn’t. But it’s an interesting dilemma to face.

This is probably BJ Ryan’s last chance to close before Downs comes back and ultimately tightens his hold on the job. The problem is…what happens to Ryan? His huge contract can’t be traded, nor will he ever be claimed off waivers. Really, the only way Toronto has a chance to deal him (and it’s still a loooong shot) is if he comes in, and pitches well when it matters.

So, if Frasor continues to struggle, and if Carlson and Accardo can’t get the job done, will Cito give BJ one last chance? At least Ryan has closing experience, and despite throwing beach balls for the past three months, he might be Plan C if Gaston is desperate enough. And I actually believe, despite being betrayed by his body, that Ryan has handled this situation admirably. No complaints, no whining, and no talk of getting back a job that he clearly hasn’t earned. Then again, nobody cares about that right now.

Again, it’s just pretty amazing to think about this whole situation. Back in April, if you’d told me Ryan would be healthy, with Downs injured, I’d have said BJ would have the closing gig. But he doesn’t, and I’m not sure he’ll ever have another chance to earn it back. It’s pretty said when your $10 million closer is done…for good. Unless he gets one more chance. Are you desperate enough, Cito?


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June 21, 2009 10:09 pm

Come on now; Jason Frasor, aka The Sausage King, isn’t struggling.

Since allowing four runs against Atlanta on May 24, Frasor appeared in seven games without allowing a run, until June 19 vs. the Nationals. That was his first run allowed in a month!

From May 24 to June 18 he lowered his ERA from 2.70 to a tidy 1.88. It now sits at a beautiful 2.22.

The Sausage King is money.

As for B.J., his tenure as closer for the Jays is over. It looks like The Cito trusts Jeremy Accardo more than The Beej, and that’s fine by me.

To close up a game, I trust Downs, Frasor, and Accardo in that order.

And Shawn Camp deserves some love too; he’s been solid.

June 21, 2009 10:12 pm

No doubt Frasor has been awesome this year, but for whatever reason, closing games has proven to be different…for most pitchers. Frasor’s now come in twice with the game on the line, and failed to get out of both jams.

He wasn’t officially credited with an earned run against Philly, but he couldn’t shut the door. then the washington game.

I still trust Frasor above anyone but Downs. But what if he struggles?

June 21, 2009 10:15 pm

If Frasor struggles, we have Accardo. He’s done it before. That’s huge to me. He’s saved games in Boston, and New York. He knows what it takes.


Now I’m just hoping his injury isn’t severe.

June 22, 2009 12:35 am

It’s sad what’s happened to BJ..

He was in-credible in 2006. Really awe inspiring that year. He was absolutely automatic. And he’d pitch all those 4, 5 or even 6 out saves..

I had a lot of patience for the guy, but I’m convinced he’s lost it at this point. Sad. My guess: he’ll stick around for the rest of the year as a mop up guy, then he’ll be released early next year and the Jays eat most of the last year of the contract… bit like what they did with Frank Thomas.

That one year though…shit. He was good.

June 22, 2009 9:43 am

career threatening injuries happen,no mystery here

June 22, 2009 10:01 am

It’s hard being a pitcher under Gaston that’s for sure.

BJ has no confidence whatsoever. I’m surprised he hasn’t asked for his release by now.

June 22, 2009 11:05 am

The Jays would release BJ in a nanosecond if he released them from contractual obligations.No tears for BJ here,if he wasn’t earning a shitload of money he’d be in Vegas

Al from Burlington
Al from Burlington
June 22, 2009 2:02 pm

The risk of injury, relatively short carreers and lack of decent major league pitchers are why these dudes get paid the ridiculous amount of money they do.

So far in his career, according to MLB Data Salary base on the USA Today website, Ryan has earned over $40 Million dollars not counting what the Jays are liable for next year. Hope he invested well…

June 22, 2009 4:38 pm

I think the BJ signing was 5 years, 49 million..

Not so good, for sure.

But how good does that Hill contract signed last year look now? What was it? 7 years 40 million or something? That could end up being a huuuuuge steal for the Jays.

June 22, 2009 5:44 pm

re: “The risk of injury, relatively short carreers and lack of decent major league pitchers are why these dudes get paid the ridiculous amount of money they do.”

I always thought it was revenue based due to a strong union, the money hasn’t always been so good, but the factors you mentioned have always existed

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