Jason Frasor turns 46 today.
Jason is our franchise leader in games pitched, with 505 (no one is beating down the door to pass him, Tim Mayza at 300 is the current pitching leader in games played), and yet we forget about him. I don’t know that he was anyone’s favourite.
Jason was drafted in the 33rd round of the 1999 draft by the Detroit Tigers out of Southern Illinois University. The Tigers traded him to the Dodgers in 2002 as a ‘player to be named later’ in a trade for Hiram Bocachica. Then, before the 2004 season, JP Ricciardi traded Jayson Werth to the Dodgers to get Frasor, who he wanted for the closer role with the Jays.
It wasn’t the best of trades. But Werth hadn’t shown much with the Blue Jays, and he didn’t do much in 2 seasons with the Dodgers. It wasn’t until 2007 that he became a full-time outfielder when he signed as a free agent with the Phillies.
Frasor 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 games. In 68.1 innings, he gave up 64 hits, walked 36, and struck out 54.
In 2005, the Jays gave Miguel Batista the closer job (he got 31 saves), and Frasor was the setup man. He picked up 15 holds. He pitched better than his rookie year, with 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.
In 2009 Ryan flamed out, and Cito Gaston shared the save opportunities between Frasor and Scott Downs. Frasor had 11 saves (with 3 blown), Downs 9, but Downs had a couple of injuries. Frasor had a 2.50 ERA (the best of his career. In 61 games, he went 7-3, allowing 43 hits and 16 walks, with 56 strikeouts in 57.2 innings.
Frasor came out of spring training in 2010 with the closer’s job. But, with 2 blown saves, he lost it again in his first 5 chances. So, 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 an 8.38, with 3 saves, 2 blown saves (one getting him a loss), and 2 holds. But, by season end, he had brought his ERA down to 3.68, going 3-4, with 4 saves and 14 holds. In 69 games, he threw 63.2 innings, giving up 61 hits, 27 walks, with 65 strikeouts.
After the 2010 season, Jason was a free agent, but the Type A status hurt his chances of making a deal with another team. No one was willing to give up a first-round draft choice for a middle reliever in his 30s, so he signed with the Jays.
In 2011 Jason got into his 453rd game with the Jays, passing Duane Ward for the most appearances by a pitcher. After that, he got into a couple more games, and then he was traded with Zack Stewart to the White Sox for Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen. Then Edwin was moved to St. Louis, with Scrabble, Octavio Dotel, and Corey Patterson for Colby Rasmus and a bunch of guys we would release within a month.
After the season, the Jays traded to get him back, sending Myles Jaye and Daniel Webb to Chicago. Webb pitched in 94 games for the White Sox with a 4.50 ERA.
Frasor got into 50 games with a 4.12 ERA. From there, he went to the Rangers, Royals, and Braves. 2015 was his last season in the majors.
His career numbers: 12 seasons, 35-35, 3.49 ERA, 679 games, 36 saves, 283 walks, 615 strikeouts.
Jason wasn’t great, but he was a good pitcher for the Jays for a long time. He wasn’t overpowering. The time he spent between pitches could sometimes be annoying. I’m pretty sure I wrote entire posts between his pitches on occasion. I wonder how he would have faired with the pitch clock?
Jason is married to Laura Schmidt, a Canadian, and they have two kids.