Royals acquire Jason Frasor from Rangers

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The last-place Rangers have started to sell off veterans, trading reliever Jason Frasor to the Royals for minor leaguer Spencer Patton.

Frasor has a lengthy track record as a solid setup man with a sub-3.70 ERA in five of the past six years, including a 3.34 ERA and 30/14 K/BB ratio in 30 innings this season at age 36. He’s owed around $750,000 for the remainder of this season as part of a cheap one-year deal.

Patton is a 26-year-old Triple-A reliever, so there isn’t a whole lot of upside to be had, but he does have 60 strikeouts in 47 innings this season and 303 strikeouts in 225 innings as a pro. He could potentially step into Frasor’s old role in the Rangers’ bullpen and give Texas some value in 2015 and beyond.

Expect the Rangers to shop left-hander Neal Cotts next, as he’s another impending free agent reliever who could help contenders down the stretch.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.