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The Bazardo/Frazier Swap

As you all know the Tigers traded OF Jeff Frazier to the Mariners in exchange for RHP Yorman Bazardo yesterday. Bazardo had been recently designated for assignment by Seattle, a move that was questioned by many people in the baseball world. Really it was to add room for the recently signed Jeff Weaver.

Jeff from Lookout Landing said this about Bazardo in reply to the trade:

On the surface it's a swap of a 22 year old 3.64 ERA in AA for a 24 year old .625 OPS in A+, but...well actually that kind of tells the story right there. But while I would've rather dropped the worthless Sean White and hung on to Bazardo for at least a little while longer to see what happens, he seems to have left his velocity at the doctor's office, as injuries have forced him into throwing a substantially softer fastball than he used to. And that velocity will probably never come back, at least not all the way, meaning at this point he's basically a back-of-the-rotation minor league starter surviving on his past reputation. If he ever makes the Majors, it'll almost certainly be as a middle reliever, the most replaceable commodity in baseball.

So, there you have it from a Mariners site...Bazardo is not the same type of pitcher he was when the Mariners picked him up from the Marlins in exchange for Ron Villone, a move that looked very good for Seattle at the time. While there is talk that his arm is not the same as it once was, Baseball America still reports that he is a "power arm," using the term several times to describe Bazardo:
Bazardo has been pitching for Venezuela in the recently concluded Caribbean Series, which provided the Mariners with an opportunity to showcase his talents. Bazardo looked strong, flashing a fastball in low 90s with some late life. He was showing a good late-breaking curve as well, but his changeup has traditionally been his second best pitch. In 25 starts for Double-A San Antonio in 2006, Bazardo went 6-5, 3.64 with a 80-45 strikeout-walk ratio, 138 innings. The knock on Bazardo in the past is that his strikeout numbers have always been low for someone who has been clocked as high as 98 mph in his career.
Bazardo has never dominated as his power arm would suggest he should, but his skill set is harder to find than Frazier's.

"Power arms," as you know, are considered Dave Dombrowski's specialty. DD has an immense track record of making trades for pitchers that fit that broad description, and has made a living off of them making big splashes in the majors. While Bazardo may not have the same type of flash that some of the bigger names have had, he still may be a guy that can find a spot in the bullpen next season.

Frazier struggled mightily last season in Single-A Lakeland, only hitting 228/279/346 in 2006. In 2005 he was a little bit better for the West Michigan Whitecaps, hitting 287/349/453 for the low A club. As for Frazier's chances at making a splash in Detroit, I'm not sure. The Tigers organization has some good young OFs in Granderson, Maybin and Clevlen, so a 24 year old struggling in Class-A ball may have been lost in the future shuffle.

I think that this is a good move for the Tigers, as I think that it's low risk and the benefits could be much higher.