Baseball: Joliet Slammers acquire relief pitcher Zac Treece, infielder Vladimir Frias
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media January 17, 2014 5:16PM
Updated: February 20, 2014 6:45AM
The bullpen is the first to benefit from the retooling of the Joliet Slammers under new manager Jeff Isom.
The Slammers have acquired reliever Zac Treece, the 2012 Frontier League Rookie of the Year, as part of the trade that sent closer Justin Erasmus and shortstop Michael Wing to the Gateway Grizzlies near the end of last season.
“He’s a big acquisition for us,’’ Isom said. “He’s been one of the best relievers in the league the past two seasons.’’
Treece, a 6-foot-3 right-hander, had a 1.21 ERA over 36 appearances in 2012, striking out 54 in 512/3 innings and walking only 16. Treece was 5-3 with a 2.13 ERA in 50 innings last season.
The 24-year-old Treece is a Hot Springs, Ark., native whom Gateway signed in 2012 out of Quachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark.
“You can see what he’s done in the league,’’ Isom said “He throws a lot of strikes, and wants the ball when the game is on the line.’’
To complete the trade, the Slammers acquired the rights to shortstop Vladimir Frias and expect to sign him. Frias, 27, was released by the Boston Red Sox in August after they purchased his contract from Gateway.
“Those are two really good ballplayers to add to our club,’’ general manager Chris Franklin said. “We’re lucky to have both of them.’’
Frias hit .283 in 34 games last season with Gateway before his contract was purchased by the Cubs. He returned to the Grizzlies, was picked up by the Red Sox and released again.
Isom said Frias would ‘’solidify our infield’’ at shortstop, calling him “one of the top defensive infielders’’ in the league.
Isom, a West Lafayette, Ind., resident, guided the Lake Erie Crushers to the league championship series last season. The Schaumburg Boomers defeated Lake Erie for the title.