Like any Rays fan worth his salt, I panicked when I heard Boxy was out for eight weeks. Then I opened MLB Free Agent Tracker to see what was left. Here is what I found:
The 38 year old Frasor split time last year between the Royals and Braves, both of whom cut him, which isn't exactly a ringing endorsement. Still, he managed a 1-0 record with a 1.29 ERA / 3.96 FIP in 28 low leverage innings. And Steamer and ZIPS both project serviceable numbers this year. You could do worse than Jason Frasor. But can you do better?
No. No, you can't. Because the cupboard is bare.
Nathan was terrible for Tigers two years ago, sporting an ERA over 6 for much of the year before settling into the high fours. Then he tore his UCL last April. He still believes he'll pitch this year. Color me skeptical. Even if he does, it's doubtful he's ready to go now. Not that I'd want him anyway.
Betancourt's FIP was almost a full three runs better than his ERA last year for Colorado, so don't let the old man's scary stats ... um ... scare you. He wasn't nearly as horrible as it seemed.
Rafael Betancourt has retired from baseball.
34 year old Jerome Williams split time between the Phillies rotation and bullpen last year, sucking at both to the tune of a 4-12 record with a 5.80 ERA / 5.24 FIP. Ew. Also, he recently underwent surgery on his Achilles and is supposed to miss the first few months of the season anyway.
Matt Thornton / Joe Beimel
Yes, both these guys are out there. And sure, I'd take a flier on either one if what we needed was a LOOGY. But that's not what we need. So , no, we don't want either of them. (Note: Thornton signed with the Padres, so the cupboard is even more bare than I thought. h/t BossmanJunior333)
And that's it. Really. If the Rays want to bring in some reinforcements, it's going to come via the trade market. Dickie Shaff for Will Smith anybody?