2:55pm: The Reds are “shopping Frazier heavily,” C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets.
2:49pm: A deal between the sides appears unlikely, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon tweets.
2:22pm: The Indians are discussing third baseman Todd Frazier with the Reds, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports on Twitter. The rebuilding Reds have traded away a number of veteran assets over the past calendar year, including Mat Latos, Alfredo Simon, Mike Leake and Johnny Cueto, in exchange for prospects. Frazier, conceivably, could be the next established name to be moved, though it’s not certain at this point how serious the talks between the two sides are.
Also uncertain is precisely what the Reds would seek in return. Previous reports have indicated that Cincinnati seeks big-league-ready help in trades for its established stars, and the Indians have that in spades when it comes to young rotation pieces. Cleveland is looking for big league assets in trade talks on its starters, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports notes on Twitter, so a framework involving Frazier for a young arm like Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar or Trevor Bauer could make some sense, though the Indians would be trading from a strength to address a weakness, thus lessening the aggregate increase in 2016 value. The Indians do have a number of highly touted outfield prospects — namely Bradley Zimmer and Clint Frazier — but the team’s big league outfield depth is thin at the moment, and dealing from that supply of talent could prove problematic down the road.
Frazier, 30 in February, broke out with an All-Star season and exploded into near-superstar status with an incredible first half in the 2015 season. However, after hitting .284/.337/.585 with 25 homers prior to the All-Star break, Frazier limped to a .220/.274/.390 finish, homering 10 times while striking out at a significantly higher clip in the second half (17.4 percent in the first half versus 23.6 percent in the second half).
His late swoon notwithstanding, Frazier would be a sizable upgrade over any internal candidates the Indians presently have at third base. He’s an above-average defender at the hot corner with legitimate power that has graded out, on average, to be about four wins above replacement in each of the past three seasons. Frazier is also reasonably affordable, as he’ll earn $7.5MM in 2016 (as part of a two-year, $12MM deal) before going through the arbitration process one more time next offseason. He can become a free agent following the 2017 campaign.