The need for another reliable right-handed setup reliever has the Seattle Mariners taking a hard look at veteran Jason Frasor, who chose to become a free agent this month after clearing waivers.
Frasor, 37, compiled a 1.54 ERA this season in 26 appearances for Kansas City despite suspect peripherals: 15 walks in 231/3 innings, which contributed to a 1.67 WHIP (walks and hits per inning).
Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon recently cited the disappointing performance by right-handed relievers as a key element in his club’s disappointing play.
“The right-handers in our bullpen,” he said, “who bridged the gap for us last year, and kept games close, have not done that.”
Four of those relievers have been demoted to the minors since the season began: Danny Farquhar, Tom Wilhelmsen, Yoervis Medina and Dominic Leone.
Medina and Leone were subsequently traded to the Cubs and Diamondbacks. Both are pitching in the minors for their new organizations.
“You can talk about our offense,” McClendon said, “but our offense last year was bad — but our bullpen was outstanding.
“In my opinion, the biggest disappointment to date has been the right-handers we’ve had to shift in and out of our bullpen to try to bridge the gap.”
Frasor is a 12-year veteran who was designated for assignment July 6 by the Royals. He is making $1.25 million this season, but his deal contains a $2 million mutual option for next year with a $550,00 buyout.
Those contract terms likely limited his attractiveness as a waiver claim.
But as a free agent, Frasor’s new club would only be obligated to pay a pro-rated portion of the major-league minimum (roughly $225,000 for the remainder of the year).
Frasor is 35-35 with a 3.52 ERA in 673 career games with Toronto (505), the Chicago White Sox (20), Texas (99) and Kansas City (49).