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.
The Red Sox can thank the Orioles for not having to fight to clinch the division on Thursday or later. The Orioles came from behind to defeat the Blue Jays 3-2 on Wednesday evening, clinching the AL East for the Red Sox.
A few minutes after that game went final, the Red Sox squandered a 3-0 lead taken in the eighth inning, culminating in a walk-off grand slam by Mark Teixeira in the bottom of the ninth inning. Closer Craig Kimbrel started the ninth, but didn’t have control over any of his pitches. He allowed a leadoff single followed by three consecutive walks to force in a run. Joe Kelly relieved Kimbrel and seemed to be close to wriggling out of the jam, getting Starlin Castro to strike out looking and Didi Gregorius to pop up. But after starting Teixeira with a first-pitch curve ball for a strike, Teixera clobbered a 99 MPH fastball, sending it over the fence in right-center to end the game.
For the Yankees, the come-from-behind victory was crucial as it staved off Wild Card elimination for one more day.
This is the first time the Red Sox have clinched the AL East since 2013, also the last year they won the World Series.
Pirates first baseman John Jaso hit for the cycle on Wednesday night against the Cubs, becoming the first Pirate to do so since Daryl Ward against the Cardinals on May 26, 2004. Jaso’s cycle is the first to be hit at PNC Park. It’s also the third cycle of the 2016 season, as Jaso joins Freddie Freeman and Rajai Davis.
Jaso singled in the second inning for his first hit. He smashed a three-run homer in the fourth inning to break a 1-1 tie. He hit an RBI double in the fifth to push the Cubs’ lead to 5-1. Then, in the seventh, Jaso hit an RBI triple to make it an 8-4 game.
Coming into Wednesday night, Jaso was hitting an adequate .259/.342/.384 with six home runs and 35 RBI in 416 plate appearances. He’s been limited mostly to right-handed pitching as the Pirates have used David Freese and Josh Bell at the position as well.