More on Yorman Bazardo
DETROIT -- The Tigers added to their pitching arsenal with a rare pre-Spring Training trade, acquiring right-hander Yorman Bazardo from the Mariners in exchange for outfield prospect Jeff Frazier.
The 22-year-old Bazardo joins Detroit's pitching mix on the heels a solid winter of relief work in Venezuela. After going 6-5 with a 3.64 ERA -- fourth lowest in the Texas League -- in 25 starts at Double-A San Antonio last year, he scattered six earned runs over 30 1/3 innings -- good for a 1.78 ERA -- in 21 games out of the bullpen for Venezuelan League champion Aragua. He followed that up with five scoreless innings in two games at the Caribbean Series in Puerto Rico.
The Mariners were in a position where they had to trade Bazardo and get what they could. They had designated him for assignment last week when they added Jeff Weaver to the 40-man roster, giving them 10 days to either trade him, release him or outright him to the Minors if no one had claimed him on waivers. His performance in the Caribbean Series, complete with a low-90s fastball and a good curveball, pretty much assured someone was going to claim him.
As a result, he'll be part of Major League camp when Tigers pitchers and catchers officially report to Lakeland next week.
"Bazardo is a young pitcher with a quality arm," Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said in a statement. "He pitched well this winter in Venezuela and we're excited to add him to the Tigers organization."
The Tigers had sent vice president/assistant GM Al Avila to Puerto Rico to scout the Caribbean Series, but Dombrowski said Bazardo's performance had little to do with the deal.
"We consummated the deal before he pitched last night," Dombrowski said. "We had liked him from his regular season reports."
Dombrowski and Avila were already familiar with Bazardo, having signed him as a teenager in 2000 while they were working for the Florida Marlins. The Mariners acquired him a year and a half ago in a trade for Ron Villone.
The Tigers haven't determined yet whether he fits long-term as a starter or reliever. He isn't expected to make the Tigers out of Spring Training, but where he goes from there remains to be seen. He has one Minor League option left.
"He's young and he has three pitches," Dombrowski said. "Some people like him more out of the bullpen. I think we bring him to camp at the Major League level and use him out of the pen."
Frazier was once a top-10 prospect in the Tigers organization, but struggled last year following a promotion to high Class A Lakeland. He hit .228 there with 13 home runs and 73 RBIs in 135 games. Detroit drafted him in the third round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft after he earned all-Big East honors at Rutgers.
To make room for Bazardo on the 40-man roster, the Tigers designated right-hander Preston Larrison for assignment. Larrison, a former starter turned reliever, scattered two earned runs on 12 hits and five walks over 10 1/3 innings in six relief appearances for Toledo. He went 4-10 with a 3.92 ERA in 26 games for Erie, including 15 starts.
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