Last season, the Kansas City Royals bullpen was the best in the American League, and arguably the best bullpen in baseball. Posting a 2.55 ERA and allowing a batting average of only .217, that bullpen was a major factor in the Royals success in 2013. This season, with essentially the exact same staff, the Royals bullpen has had it’s struggles, posting a 3.60 ERA this year as Ned Yost has struggled to find a reliable reliever outside of Greg Holland, Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera.
To that end, the Royals have made a move to strengthen the bullpen. Earlier today, the Kansas City Royals traded Spencer Patton to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Jason Frasor. An eleven year major league veteran, Frasor has posted a 1-1 record with a 3.34 ERA and a 1.382 WHiP this season. In his 38 games, Frasor has pitched 29.2 innings, striking out 30 batters while issuing 14 walks.
Not a flamethrower like most of the other pieces in the Royals bullpen, Frasor relies upon his low 90′s fastball while mixing in a slider and a splitter. That mixture of pitches has led to a solid ground ball rate, as Frasor has induced a grounder in 47.6% of balls in play. Typically used as a righty specialist in Texas, Frasor is likely to have the same type of role with the Royals.
To make room for Jason Frasor, the Royals optioned Louis Coleman to Omaha and designated Jimmy Paredes for assignment. Coleman had been key piece as part of that excellent Royals bullpen last year, but faltered to a 7.48 ERA and a 2.031 WHiP in his 21.2 innings this season. Paredes had spent most of the 2014 season in Omaha, but had ten at bats with the Royals this season as an injury fill in. Should Paredes go unclaimed, as it likely, he will remain in Omaha.
In another trade earlier today, the Royals sent Ryan Verdugo to the Boston Red Sox for cash considerations. Verdugo has spent most of his career in the minors, making one disastrous appearance for the Royals in 2012, where he gave up six runs in 1.2 innings of work. Acquired with Jonathan Sanchez for Melky Cabrera, Verdugo just never turned into the piece the Royals hoped he would be.
It may not have been the most exciting of days for the Royals, but it was certainly busy. With Jason Frasor, Kansas City and Ned Yost will have hopefully found another reliable arm to help them get to the postseason.