Free agency is something players tend to cherish. It’s their best opportunity to land a long-term deal worth the most guaranteed money.That, however, sometimes doesn’t ring true for middle relievers on the market.Jason Frasor has gone through the free-agency drama before and wasn’t a big fan of it.“It really wasn’t all that fun,” Frasor said. “Unless you’re a major power hitter or a stud starter …. Being a middle reliever is kind of stressful.”Especially when you’re looking for work on Christmas morning or New Year’s Eve, as Frasor did last off-season before signing with the Rangers on Jan. 3.That’s why Frasor wasted no time re-signing a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers on Friday before even reaching the free-agent market.The deal is worth $1.75 million with another $250,000 in incentives based on number of appearances.“I’m thrilled, what can I say?” Frasor said. “It’s just nice to know at this point. The World Series isn’t even over and one of the best teams in baseball wants you back.”Frasor, 36, went 4-3 with a 2.57 ERA over 49 innings in 61 appearances with the Rangers last season, his first with the organization. The right-hander held opposing batters to a career-low .203 average in what was arguably his best season in the majors. Frasor’s changeup was an effective pitch for him. He held opponents to a .135 average off it. Frasor said it took him time to find the right grip on it in the Texas heat, but eventually figured it out.“Life is a lot easier with a fastball/changeup/slider,” Frasor said. “But the four-seam [fastball] is the key to my success.”The 10-year veteran, who spent the majority of his career with the Toronto Blue Jays, has a 3.67 ERA in 586 lifetime appearances, the 10th most appearances among active right-handed pitchers.But Frasor is still searching for his first postseason action. He believes the Rangers are a team that gives him as good a chance as any, and the Rangers feel he’s a winning piece of the team, too.These deals are somewhat uncommon because of the lure of free agency, assistant general manager Thad Levine said, but the team was certainly pleased with the reunion and locking up one of the more reliable arms in the bullpen for another season.“He was a huge part of the bullpen,” Levine said. “We want to keep as many of those pitchers intact as we can.“Jason probably left some money on the table to sign here, but I think he looked at it from a quality of life and stability standpoint. He can be with a manager who knows him, and a bullpen coach and pitching coach he likes as well.”Frasor is expected to carry a similar role next season as he did in the final months last season, being one of the first right-handers out of the bullpen.He generally worked the sixth or seventh inning before handing the ball over to setup man Tanner Scheppers and closer Joe Nathan.Nathan could become a free agent if the Rangers decline his $9 million option next season, or if Nathan exercises his right to void the option should the Rangers opt to pick it up.But those discussions have yet to take place. For now, the Rangers are happy to have worked out a deal with Frasor.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison