The release puts an exclamation point on a nightmare season for Frieri, who posted a 7.34 ERA, 10.4 K/9 and 3.43 K/BB rate over 41 2/3 innings with the Pirates and Angels. He hurt himself with the long ball by allowing 11 homers this season, though the advanced metrics suggest that Frieri’s 7.34 ERA involved some poor luck — ERA predictors such as xFIP (3.69) and SIERA (2.97) indicate that Frieri was victimized by a .330 BABIP and a very low 60.9% strand rate.
The Angels removed Frieri from his closer’s job and then traded him to the Bucs for Jason Grilli in a swap of struggling ninth-inning men. While Grilli has thrived in Los Angeles, Frieri couldn’t get on track in Pittsburgh and was demoted to the minors. The righty posted a 3.86 ERA with six strikeouts and four walks in seven innings at Triple-A Indianapolis.
Frieri was a dominant bullpen force with the Padres and Angels from 2009-12, posting a 2.32 ERA in 162 2/3 IP in that stretch and earning 23 saves after he came to Anaheim in May 2012. While his ERA jumped to 3.80 in 2013, his 37 saves and prior performance earned him a $3.8MM contract for 2014 in his first year of arbitration eligibility. (Frieri is still controllable through 2016.) His rough season all but guaranteed that he would be non-tendered by the Bucs this winter, though Frieri’s past success will very likely earn him a look from a few interested clubs.