The Texas Rangers announced Thursday that they have agreed to a one-year deal with reliever Jason Frasor and, a source confirmed, also have some interest in Lance Berkman should the veteran decide to play again in 2013.
Frasor, 35, made 50 appearances for the Toronto Blue Jays last season, posting a 4.12 ERA with 53 strikeouts and 22 walks. He missed seven weeks, including all of August, because of a strained right forearm. He pitched 7 2/3 innings after returning from the injury and gave up four runs on 10 hits with eight strikeouts and three walks.
Frasor has spent all but 20 games of his big league career with Toronto and has a 3.77 ERA in nine seasons. He will make $1.5 million, a source confirmed.
To make room for Frasor, the club has designated catcher Eli Whiteside for assignment.
"I just wanted to go to a winner, I really did," Frasor said. "I was in Toronto for nine years, and I didn't sniff a playoff race, let alone a playoff. I feel great. But obviously my window is closing a little bit. I wanted to be on a great team. I'm thrilled. It's the perfect opportunity."
Frasor said he's playing catch three or four times a week and is throwing out to 100 feet. As part of his physical, he said that doctors took "what seemed like a million dollars' worth of photos" to be sure he was fine.
"I saw the doctor after that, and he said everything looks great, which goes along with how I feel," Frasor said.
The Rangers lost free-agent relievers Koji Uehara, Scott Feldman and Mike Adams and moved Alexi Ogando to the starting rotation. They've acquired other relief pieces in an effort to bridge the gap between starters and closer Joe Nathan. Josh Lindblom came over in the Michael Young trade to the Phillies, and Tommy Hottovy, Jeff Beliveau, Coty Woods and Cory Burns have joined internal candidates Tanner Scheppers and Michael Kirkman. Left-hander Robbie Ross returns but could also get a look as the fifth starter if the Rangers do not sign another starter this offseason.
Berkman, 36, played in only 32 games last season with the St. Louis Cardinals because of knee troubles. He had two surgeries on his right knee last year. He had 31 home runs and 94 RBIs to go along with a .959 OPS in 2011 as a member of the Cardinals team that beat the Rangers in seven games in the World Series.
Texas is still searching for more offensive help, and Berkman, if he can stay healthy, could provide some of it. He hasn't decided whether he will play in 2013 and acknowledged in a recent MLB Network interview that he's not sure of the level of interest clubs will have in him.
"I'm sure a lot of teams would have a question about if I could hold up over 162 games and things like that, so there's some factors there that I think are going to limit the offers that I get from some of these teams," Berkman said.