The more Ernesto Frieri struggled in late July and early August the more he was consumed by fear not so much of losing his closer job which the Angels right-hander eventually did but of his ability to support his growing family.
Frieri 28 is eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter and a strong season as closer could boost his salary from $530000 this season to about $3.5 million in 2014. A poor final two months could cost him $1 million or more.
Money is not the biggest motivator for Frieri who has the wide-eyed enthusiasm of a Little Leaguer and is grateful for every day in the big leagues. But when you're married with a baby girl and another child on the way and you're financially supporting numerous relatives back home in Colombia money is important.
"I don't know how to fly a plane I'm not a doctor. I'm a baseball player this is what I do" said Frieri who threw a scoreless ninth inning to close a 6-2 victory over Tampa Bay on Thursday night at Angel Stadium.