Ernesto Frieri was acquired by the Angels on May 3,2012 from the San Diego Padres in exchange for Alexi Amarista and Donn Roache. Both players traded are still with the Padres, Roach is 5th/6th starter who just hit the big leagues and was sent back to the minors. Amarista is Utility Infielder on his best days.
Frieri only pitched 154 innings as a Halo but ranks in the Top Ten of three franchise categories. His 37 Saves last season are tied with Lee Smith for the tenth most saves in club history. His 71 Saves as an Angel are tied for the fourth most in club history with Brian Fuentes. He finished 119 games as an Angel, the eighth most by any player.
Last year, his best and only full season with the club, saw him accrue and ERA+ of 165. That is pretty good for a reliever. Fuentes Saved 48 Games in 2009 with an ERA+ of 112, so we can thank him for saving us many cardiovascular-related scares last year compared to Fuentes' best season.
But in light of how badly he had let down the team this season, all adjectives of the very word "RELIEF" have been dispelled. In fact an indictment of the SAVE statistic will be indicted any time someone looks at the men holding the most in that category for this team. After Percival with more than 300 and Frankie with more than 200 and Bryan Harvey with more than 100, the top five drops to two tied with 71 who are synonymous with letting down the team (Fuentes didn't even pitch 100 innings). The rigid closer role that worked for Percy and Harvey and into which Frankie was molded after two full seasons as the eight-inning man just didn't work for Frieri and Fuentes.
How much of that breakdown is to put onto the shoulders of Mike Scioscia and Mike Butcher or on the desk of Jerry Dipoto is the stuff of a hundred FanPosts.
Frieri's greatest accomplishment as an Angel were his first 26 Innings Pitched. He allowed no runs in his first 26.1 IP as a Halo. The streak lasted from his debut on May 5 to a shaky outing in Yankee Stadium on July 15 where with six days rest including the All Star Break, he entered a 10-5 Angels lead just to get some work and walked Robinson Cano, allowed a HR to Mark Teixeira and walked Nick Swisher. Mike Scioscia gave him a quick hook and brought in Scott Downs. The lefty got two outs but allowed Frieri's runner to score by Walking Curtis Granderson with the bases loaded. Scioscia then brought in Kevin Jepsen to induce a bases-loaded pop-fly from Alex Rodriguez to end the game.
Sure we can say we should have known then but at the time we said it was just a hiccup. And 2013 proved that generally true, but the cracks were already in the armor - his fastball had no movement more often than it had movement. the floodgates opened in 2014 and now he is a change-of-scenery trade for a downsliding veteran in the form of Jason Grilli.
His ERA+ for his Angels carer: 100, exactly league average. But that is a testament to the HIGH highs and the LOW lows he induced. There was very little that was ever even about his tenure in the LAAoA uniform.
Ernesto, lots of luck, you're a change-up away from greatness.