The Blue Jays and Jason Frasor have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $3.5 million contract, according to a team press release. The contract includes a $3.75 million team option for 2012.
The 33-year-old Frasor accepted arbitration from the Blue Jays at the end of November, a decision motivated by his Type A free agent status, which would have likely limited the number of interested teams.
Scott Downs and Kevin Gregg both left via free agency this winter, but the Blue Jays are still in good shape in their bullpen after the additions of Carlos Villaneuva, Octavio Dotel, Jon Rauch, and most recently, Frank Francisco.
As a result of the Vernon Wells trade last Friday, Frasor is now the longest tenured player on the Blue Jays. The right-hander posted a 3.68 ERA and 65/27 K/BB ratio over 63 2/3 innings last season. He has topped 60 appearances in each of the last two seasons.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.