The Rangers announced that they’ve traded right-hander Ernesto Frieri to the Mariners in exchange for cash. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times first reported the swap and adds that Frieri will help to round out a depleted bullpen in Triple-A Tacoma for the time being (Twitter links). He’s not on the 40-man roster, so no corresponding move is necessary.
Frieri, 32, returned to the Majors in 2017 after sitting out the 2016 campaign entirely (outside of a stint in the Dominican Winter League). The former Angels closer drummed up some interest by pitching for his native Colombia in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. That showing helped Frieri to latch on with the Yankees on a minors pact, and he later signed with the Rangers after opting out of that pact with New York. He pitched seven innings out of the Texas ’pen, allowing four runs on six hits and six walks with five strikeouts.
While those numbers aren’t pretty, Frieri has a strong 2.63 ERA with 11.2 K/9 against 4.0 BB/9 in 27 1/3 Triple-A frames this year — including 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball with an 8-to-3 K/BB ratio since last being sent to Triple-A by Texas. He’s mostly a depth option for now, it seems, but Frieri does have a solid overall track record in the Majors, even in spite of his lack of recent results.
In 303 1/3 big league innings, he owns a 3.59 ERA with 11.5 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9. Frieri is an extreme fly-ball pitcher (career 26.4 percent ground-ball rate), though if he reaches the Majors, concerns surrounding that trait could be somewhat mitigated by the spacious dimensions of Seattle’s Safeco Field and an excellent Mariners outfield defense.