Jason Frasor signed with the Texas Rangers, a 1-year deal worth $1.5 million.
Jason holds the team record for most games played by a pitcher, he's been in 505 games, quite a few more than number 2 on the list, Duane Ward, who pitched in 452 games, Ward did pitch more innings, 650.2 to 504.2 for Frasor. It shows how the use of relievers have changed over the years.
J.P,. Ricciardi picked up Frasor before the 2004 season in a trade from the Dodgers for Jayson Werth. Werth hadn't shown much in two short looks with the Jays, and it took a few seasons for him to become a star outfielder. JP wanted Frasor for the closer's role. In 2003 Aquilino Lopez and Cliff Politte shared the job. If you don't remember either of those two, you are forgiven, they weren't very memorable. We finished 3rd in 2003, at 86-76, but 15 games back of the Yankees. The feeling was that a good reliever might be part of what pushed us to the top. It didn't work, we were dead last in 2004, 67-94.
Not that it was Frasor's fault, he shared the closer role with Justin Speier, in 2004. Jason saved 17 games, with 2 blown. He finished 4-6 with a 4.08 ERA in 63 gamesm.In 2005, the Jays gave Miguel Batista the closer job (he picked up 31 saves) with Frasor was the setup man, he had 15 holds, pitching better than his rookie year, getting a 3.25 ERA in 67 games.
From 2006 to 2008 he stayed in the setup/middle relief roles, with the Jays signing B.J. Ryan to close for them (Jeremy Accardo had 30 saves in 2007 with Ryan out after Tommy John surgery) with ERA's of 4.32, 4.58 and 4.18.
By 2009 Ryan rather spectacularly imploded. He was awful, so manager Cito Gaston shared out the closer job between Frasor and Scott Downs. Jason had 11 save, blowing 3, with a 2.50 ERA in 61 games.
In 2010 Jason had closer role out of spring training, but, with 2 blown saves in his first 5 chances, he lost it again. A little tip for anyone that wants a closer job, don't have a bad start to the season (see Frank Francisco). At the end of April, Jason had a 8.38, with 3 saves, 2 blown saves and 2 holds. By season end, he had brought his ERA down to 3.68, going 3-4, with 4 saves and 14 holds.
After the 2010 season, Jason was a free agent, but the Type A status hurt his ability to find a deal with another team. No one was willing to give up a first round draft choice for a middle reliever in his 30's, so he ended up signing with the Jays.
In 2011 Jason got into his 453rd game, passing Duane Ward. He got into a couple more games and then was traded, with Zack Stewart, to the White Sox for Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen. Then Edwin was moved to St. Louis, with Marc Rzepczynski (yes, I had to look up the spelling again), Octavio Dotel and Corey Patterson for Colby Rasmus and bunch of guys that would be released within a month.
We got him back at the start of 2012, trading fringe prospect pitchers Daniel Webb and Myles Jaye to Chicago. He was having an ok season before going on the DL for the first time in his tenure with the Jays.
I've always kind of liked Jason. When he gets into a game, you have lots of time to go get a beer, use the washroom, finish the beer, use the washroom again, and then watch him throw his second pitch. But he's always been dependable from the pen. He gets strikeouts (8.5 per 9 innings) and doesn't give up a lot of hits (7.9 per 9 innings). He seemed to like Toronto, married a Canadian.
His games pitched record is safe, at least for a few years. With Jason gone, our active leader in games pitched is Casey Janssen, and he needs 222 to catch up to Frasor. Behind him, among active pitchers is Ricky Romero and I don't think he's going to get the 380 more starts he needs to catch up. Call it a hunch.
Bye Jason. Enjoy your time in Texas.