Power arms are never easy to find, and the Tigers added another when they sent minor league outfielder Jeff Frazier to the Mariners in exchange for righthanded reliever Yorman Bazardo.
The Big Leaguers
If all you have to do to be considered a big leaguer is appear in the big leagues, then Bazardo is a big leaguer. The 22-year-old was originally signed by the Marlins in 2000 out of Venezuela and the Marlins called him up for an emergency start against the Mets in 2005. He did not make it out of the second inning in his only major league appearance to date. Seattle removed Bazardo from the 40-man roster and designated him for assignment when they recently signed Jeff Weaver, which gave them 10 days to trade him before having to put him through waivers in order to return him to the minors. Bazardo has been pitching for Venezuela in the recently concluded Caribbean Series, which provided the Mariners with an opportunity to showcase his talents. Bazardo looked strong, flashing a fastball in low 90s with some late life. He was showing a good late-breaking curve as well, but his changeup has traditionally been his second best pitch. In 25 starts for Double-A San Antonio in 2006, Bazardo went 6-5, 3.64 with a 80-45 strikeout-walk ratio, 138 innings. The knock on Bazardo in the past is that his strikeout numbers have always been low for someone who has been clocked as high as 98 mph in his career. His move to Detroit will be the second time he has been traded in his career as Florida sent him to Seattle for lefthander Ron Villone in the summer of 2005.
After a strong start to his 2006 campaign, Frazier fizzled for high Class A Lakeland and finished with a line of .228/.279/.346. The 24-year-old was a third-round pick of the Tigers in 2004 out of Rutgers and possesses a solid combination of tools. He does not hit for the kind of power you would like to see from someone with the kind of athletic frame he has, but there is hope it will come on as he advances. His solid arm and average range make him a good fit in right field. Frazier’s younger brother Todd is currently a junior at Rutgers and a top prospect for the 2007 draft. Jeff will likely play at the Mariners’ new Southern League affiliate at Double-A West Tenn.
Bazardo has never dominated as his power arm would suggest he should, but his skill set is harder to find than Frazier’s.