The Tampa Bay Rays have signed free agent reliever Ernesto Frieri to a one-year contract, according to Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune. His deal is worth $800,000 in guaranteed money, and 2.35 million in potential incentives.
#Rays sign RHP Ernesto Frieri to a 1-year major league contract and DFA inf Sean Rodriguez
— RMooneyTBO (@RMooneyTBO) November 26, 2014
Frieri can earn $1.1 million in performance bonuses for games: $50,000 for 30, $100,000 for 35, $150,000 each for 50 and 45, $200,000 for 50 and 55, and $250,000 for 60.
The veteran right-hander can also make $1.25 million based on games finished: $150,000 for 30, $200,000 for 35, $250,000 for 40, $300,000 for 45, and $350,000 for 50.
The Rays are always looking for cheap bullpen options that have upside, but this signing is a bit of a head-scratcher.
Frieri was a mess in 2014, going from the Los Angeles Angels’ closer, to being traded by Anaheim, and then being released by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the middle of August. He posted a 7.34 ERA, a 6.60 FIP, and a 48/14 K/BB ratio. His strike-out-to-walk ratio is promising, and in 2013 he threw 229 innings. The Rays hope that he can return to his 2013 form this upcoming season.
In order to clear a roster spot, the Rays designated utility-infielder Sean Rodriguez for assignment.