Consider this the start of a potential Rangers sell-off. Texas on Wednesday dispatched 36-year-old righthanded reliever Jason Frasor to the Royals for righthander Spencer Patton, a reliever who is 10 years younger than Frasor.
The Royals, sitting at 48-46 and in second place in the American League Central and 2 1/2 games out of the wild card, have an imposing closer/setup man combo in Greg Holland and Wade Davis but have been looking for depth in the middle innings with Louis Coleman struggling to regain his 2013 form. In fact, Kansas City optioned Coleman to Triple-A Omaha with the announcement of the trade.
Spencer Patton, rhp
Patton is in Durham, N.C., for the Triple-A all-star game, which will be played tonight. A 24th-round pick from Southern Illinois-Edwardsville in 2011, the righthander has a 60/22 SO/BB ratio in 46 innings with the Storm Chasers, but he did not rank among the Royals’ top 30 prospects prior to the season.
One evaluator said Patton’s success this season is a case of numbers over stuff and that batters have a hard time deciphering his deception. He’s just effective enough as a strike-thrower to perhaps be a useful middle reliever. He ranks third in the Pacific Coast League with 14 saves and first among relievers with a .161 opponent average.
Jason Frasor, rhp
Service time (preseason): 9.134. Eligible for free agency after the season.
In his second season with the Rangers, Frasor has not been as effective as 2013 but is holding lefthanders to a .233 average. His strikeout and walk walk rates are within range of his career norms. Frasor will help stabilize Kansas City’s middle-relief corps and give the Royals an option in addition to Aaron Crow, who has seen his fastball velocity dip from last season (94.6 to 91.9 mph on average). Frasor is due about $900,000 for the remainder of the season, after which he’s a free agent.