Despite posting a 1.54 ERA in 26 relief appearances this season with the Royals, veteran Jason Frasor wasn’t surprised when he was designated for assignment on July 3.
“No, I could feel it coming,” said the right-hander, who signed with the Braves after clearing waivers. “ I knew something had to give. We (Royals) were carrying an extra pitcher, and I was pitching 1 ½ times a week. I felt like I’d get in the Sunday afternoon game when it was 125 degrees, and then I had the rest of the week off.
“To be honest, they didn’t need me. They are so loaded in that bullpen. They didn’t need me, and I completely get it. No hard feelings. Fortunately, I was able to get another big-league job.”
And so, we know he’s candid as well as experienced. Frasor, 37, signed with the Braves on Friday.
“Picking up Jason Frasor is going to be a big one, because he’s got a ton of experience at the end of ballgames,” said well-traveled Braves veteran Kelly Johnson, who faced him in the American League.
The Mariners and Red Sox were among the teams that expressed interest in Frasor, after the Royals DFA’d him to open a roster spot for outfielder Paulo Orlando.
“I got some calls, but this seemed like the one guaranteed spot where they said, ‘Hey, come to Atlanta right now,’” Frasor said. “I hadn’t pitched in – it’s two weeks today – and I just didn’t want to sit anymore. The shoulder atrophies, it dies, it gets weaker. So it was just time to get this show on the road and join a team.”
Dry sense of humor? Check.
His ERA with the Royals was outstanding, and Frasor allowed just one home run. But his strikeouts-to-walks ratio wasn’t good, with 18 strikeouts and 15 walks (two intentional) in 23 1/3 innings.
“I created a lot of stress for the coaching staff,” he said, smiling. “Give up a base hit and then a walk. The way I explained it, I was trying to set up the force at third, you know? I don’t think they were buying that.
“If you look at those (Royals relievers) numbers, they go 1-2-3, then pass the baton to another guy who goes 1-2-3. So, I couldn’t keep up with those guys.”
The Braves will pay him a prorated portion of the major league minimum $507,000 salary, while the Royals will pay the balance of his $1.25 million salary and $550,000 buyout of a $2 million option for 2016.
In 12 seasons, all in the AL, the 5-foot-9 Chicago native is 35-35 with a 3.52 ERA and 35 saves in 673 relief appearances, with 611 strikeouts and 280 walks in 642 innings.
Frasor was 7-3 with a 2.50 ERA and 11 saves in 61 appearances for Toronto in 2009. After the Royals got him from the Rangers in a July 2014 trade, Frasor posted a 1.53 ERA in 23 appearances during Kansas City’s stretch drive, with 16 strikeouts and only four walks in 17 2/3innings.
He also posted a 1.69 ERA in seven postseason appearances for the AL champions, including three World Series games. For the entire 2014 regular season, Frasor had a 2.66 ERA in 61 appearances, with 46 strikeouts and 18 walks in 47 1/3 innings.
“I spent a long time in Toronto, then I went to Texas and that was great,” Frasor said. “As it turned out, change was good. I really enjoyed Texas, then I went to Kansas City and we’re in the seventh game of the World Series, after not sniffing a playoff run. So that was great. And here I am today, and life is still good. No complaints. This seems like a good place to be. Lot of tradition, and a good place to pitch.”