TORONTO -- The Blue Jays avoided arbitration with Jason Frasor on Tuesday, when Toronto agreed to a one-year deal with the right-hander worth $825,000.
Frasor, 29, was eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter despite having less than three years of Major League service time. Frasor qualified for arbitration after being classified as a "Super Two" player, which means he accumulated at least 86 days of service in the preceding season and ranked in the top 17 percent in total service time.
Last season, Frasor finished 3-2 with a 4.32 ERA in 51 games out of the bullpen for Toronto. Frasor struggled at the beginning of the year, but he retooled his approach in the second half and salvaged his season down the stretch.
In the season's first month, Frasor had a 10.24 ERA over 9 2/3 innings. After that showing, Toronto optioned him to Triple-A Syracuse on April 27. In his second stint with the Jays, Frasor posted a 3.09 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings. Toronto wasn't convinced he was over his command issues, though, and optioned him down again on July 2.
That's when Frasor, who made $359,000 a year ago, decided to alter his arsenal. He essentially abandoned his curveball -- a pitch he relied heavily on in 2005 -- and began using a slider as his primary breaking pitch. Frasor also began mixing in more split-finger fastballs.
"His game plan changed just a little bit," Toronto pitching coach Brad Arnsberg said after Frasor was called up in August. "Sometimes hitters run into you the next year and you think you can do the same thing. You've got to make adjustments. The greatest in the game have had to make adjustments."
Over his last 16 appearances, Frasor posted a 1.69 ERA and struck out 16 batters over 16 innings. He had a 2.65 ERA in August and September and finished the year with 51 strikeouts versus 17 walks over 50 innings.
Frasor will continue to serve as a middle reliever in 2007. The Jays will also probably use him to help bridge the gap to All-Star closer B.J. Ryan now that Justin Speier, who was Toronto's main setup man a year ago, signed as a free agent with the Angels this offseason. Right-handers Brandon League, Jeremy Accardo and Frasor will likely share seventh- and eighth-inning duties.
The Blue Jays have four more unsigned players -- first baseman Lyle Overbay, right fielder Alex Rios, left fielder Reed Johnson, and left-hander Scott Downs -- who are eligible for arbitration this winter. Rios is also eligible as a Super Two.