The Texas Rangers' bullpen is a shell of its former self, there's no doubt about that. But there's still guys out there to put together a viable bullpen, which is probably the easiest part of a roster to use the "plug and play" strategy.
The Rangers took a step in that direction on Thursday by signing Jason Frasor to a one-year worth a reported $1.5 million, an incredibly cheap deal for what is really a pretty solid relief pitcher.
You look at Frasor's numbers and on the surface, they don't seem too special. He posted a 4.12 ERA last year in 43 2/3 innings with Toronto, allowing nearly a hit per inning (42). Definitely nothing to write home about, especially when you're thinking Frasor will come in here and have a high-leverage role in the bullpen getting significant innings in the back-end of ballgames.
Frasor averaged a career-high 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings with Toronto last season and has held opponents to a .239 batting average over his career, including .229 by right-handed hitters.
As the great Jamey Newberg so eloquently points out:
In a winter featuring a three-year, $22.5 million deal for Brandon League, a three-year, $21 million deal for Jonathan Broxton, and a three-year, $18 million deal for Jeremy Affeldt, the Rangers will pay new relievers Joakim Soria, Josh Lindblom, and Jason Frasor a combined $6 million in 2013.
Not saying it's nice to see the Rangers act "cheap" but it's definitely a good thing to see in regards to the bullpen, where guys have been getting insane money this offseason at a position that is, again, pretty easy to fill on a roster.
Frasor could be a key late-inning piece due to his ability to get guys out in sticky situations with the strikeout. Is he a set-up man? Probably not, but he'll be useful without a doubt.