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December 1, 2014

Transaction Analysis

The Reliever Receivers

by R.J. Anderson and Bret Sayre

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IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Signed RHP Jason Frasor to a one-year deal worth $1.25 million with a mutual option for a second year; acquired LHP Brian Flynn and RHP Reid Redman from the Marlins in exchange for RHP Aaron Crow. [11/28]

Boy, when Frasor likes a place, he really likes a place. Remember how he never wanted to leave Toronto? Well, this is the second consecutive winter he's taken less money to return to his previous team—a trend that's sure to leave him off the union's Christmas card mailing list. Though 37 years old, Frasor can still retire big-league hitters, albeit in a different capacity than the set-up role he used to fill. Ned Yost employed Frasor as a specialist last season, micromanaging his usage to the point that he faced 67 percent righties, and that's presumably the plan heading forward as well. Frasor seems content with the role and the pay, so the Royals should be as well; tough luck for everyone else.

Dayton Moore might have non-tendered Aaron Crow had he not found a taker. Instead he receives two interesting arms in return. A product of nearby Wichita State, Flynn looks as if someone took Andy Sisco into Photoshop and re-proportioned him to 95 percent of his natural state. Flynn's average arsenal lends itself to back-of-the-rotation projections; however, there's a chance he lands in relief, where his long levers and closed delivery would make him a tough match-up against same-handed batters. Either way, he should contribute to the big-league team in '15. —R.J. Anderson

Fantasy Impact

Aaron Crow

There are whispers the Marlins might give Crow a chance to become a starter, but while that's nice in theory, it's not something that should be integrated into his fantasy value, which after his 2014 season is more or less non-existent. The Marlins, however, do have a track record of getting the most out of pitchers with velocity, so if Crow can recapture some of the oomph he lost last season, he could end up reappearing in deep fantasy leagues regardless of his role. —Bret Sayre

TAMPA BAY RAYS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Signed RHP Ernesto Frieri to a one-year deal worth $800,000 with incentives that could push the total value to $3.15 million; designated INF-R Sean Rodriguez for assignment. [11/26]

The kicker in last week's Transaction Analysis on the Jose Dominguez trade stated: "In the interim, bet your life savings on the Rays signing a down-on-his-luck veteran reliever to give them more immediate help." Hopefully you took that advice, because Frieri fits that description as well as anyone; just last season, he went from closing with the Angels to being outrighted to the minors within two months.

Frieri has always relied heavily upon deception and a phantom fastball. Unfortunately, his mechanics have become less misleading over the past few years; his release point has gotten higher and his crossfire action more reserved, robbing him of what made him effective in the first place. Seeing as how Frieri doesn't have a knockout secondary offering, he'll probably need to regain the smoke-and-mirrors aspect to his mechanics if he hopes to return to form.

It's not a positive development when Ray Searage can't straighten a pitcher out, but Jim Hickey is pretty good at helping pitchers, too. If Hickey can work his magic here, the Rays will have Frieri under control through '16. —R.J. Anderson

Fantasy Impact

Ernesto Frieri

If the Rays taking a reliever who throws in the mid-90s but bombed out of Anaheim sounds familiar, it's because it should—though expecting them to "fix" Frieri as the Rays did with Fernando Rodney three seasons ago is unrealistic. However, this does make the former Angels closer an interesting flier in AL-only and dynasty leagues (where he was likely dropped harder than an anvil). —Bret Sayre

MIAMI MARLINS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Acquired RHP Aaron Crow from the Royals in exchange for LHP Brian Flynn and RHP Reid Redman. [11/28]

The latest evidence that Dan Jennings loves power arms. Crow heads south for the wint—er ... to Miami following a rough 2014, in which his strikeout rate and velocity plunged without a similar response from his walks. The good news—or bad, depending on your faith in pitching coach Chuck Hernandez—is that the poor season can be tied in part to a noticeable change in his delivery, as he featured a greater amount of trunk tilt and a higher release point. Crow, who has always wrapped his wrist, will try to smooth his mechanics out with his new team. If he can, he should provide the Marlins with a sixth- or seventh-inning option through the 2016 season. —R.J. Anderson


R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see R.J.'s other articles. You can contact R.J. by clicking here
Bret Sayre is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Bret's other articles. You can contact Bret by clicking here

Related Content:  Kansas City Royals,  Miami Marlins

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