Free agent reliever Ryan Brasier is drawing interest from at least six different teams, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Jon Heyman of the New York Post. Goold writes that the Cardinals and Dodgers are involved in the market, while Heyman writes that the Angels, Cubs, Orioles, and Rangers also have interest.
Brasier has already pitched for both Los Angeles teams, as he made his MLB debut with nine innings for the Angels back in 2013 and then seemingly got his career back on track with the Dodgers last season. The right-hander posted a 6.16 ERA over 83 1/3 innings with the Red Sox in 2021 and in the first two months of the 2022 campaign before he was released, and then signed to a minor league contract by the Dodgers in June.
Secondary metrics (especially in 2022) indicated that Brasier was pitching better than his ERA would indicate, and the turn-around came once he donned Dodger Blue. L.A. selected Brasier’s contract in late June and he was almost untouchable the rest of the way, posting an 0.70 ERA over 38 2/3 innings out of the Dodgers’ bullpen. Brasier had a 26.6% strikeout rate, 7% walk rate, and 51.1% grounder rate as a Dodger — all major improvements over his numbers in Boston last year, though Brasier also enjoyed a .183 BABIP in Los Angeles, as opposed to a .344 BABIP with the Red Sox.
As The Athletic’s Chad Jennings explored in August, Brasier started throwing a cutter for the first time in his career and the results were immediate. Not only did batters hit only .152 against Brasier’s new offering, he noted that “having another pitch to get guys off certain other pitches. But (while) working on the cutter, some other stuff started to come back.”
The cutter’s effectiveness adds yet another wrinkle to the up-and-down nature of Brasier’s career. After his cup of coffee with the Angels in 2013, he didn’t return to the majors until 2018, as the righty spent the interim years pitching with the Athletics’ Triple-A team and with the Hiroshima Carp in Japan. Brasier returned to North America by signing a minors deal with the Red Sox in 2018, and he unexpectedly emerged as a key bullpen weapon for the eventual World Series champions. Brasier had a 1.60 ERA over 33 2/3 regular-season innings for the Sox that season, plus a 1.04 ERA in 8 2/3 postseason frames.
The remainder of Brasier’s time in Boston was much shakier, as he ended up with a 4.55 ERA over his 209 2/3 career innings in a Red Sox uniform. As he now enters his age-36 season, however, Brasier again seems like an intriguing relief option given how well he pitched with the Dodgers. His age and somewhat inconsistent track record could limit him to a one-year contract, yet with so much interest in his market, Brasier might be able to land some type of option for the 2025 season depending on how sold teams are with his late-season performance.