The Rangers announced that they’ve signed right-hander Ernesto Frieri to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Round Rock. The former Angels closer had been pitching with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate until last week, when he opted out of his minor league deal with New York.
Presumably, Frieri’s camp sees a clearer road to a big league roster spot in Arlington than they did in the Bronx. Given the struggles of the Texas relief corps — especially the recently designated for assignment Sam Dyson — it is indeed easy to see the 32-year-old Frieri quickly earning a look in the Major League ’pen. The Rangers’ 4.76 bullpen ERA is the fifth-worst mark in all of Major League Baseball, and in addition to the struggles of Dyson, Texas has seen Tony Barnette and Jeremy Jeffress post ERAs north of 5.00. Both were worked especially heavily early in the season, which may have contributed to their lackluster results.
Frieri, who utilized the World Baseball Classic as an avenue to pursue a comeback, has pitched well with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate thus far. In 21 innings with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he’s posted a 3.00 ERA with 24 strikeouts with nine walks and a 33.3 percent ground-ball rate. He’s always been a fly-ball pitcher with iffy control, even when at his best with the Padres and Angels from 2010-13. In that time, Frieri posted a 2.79 ERA with 12.3 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 across 229 1/3 innings of relief.