As many as 10 teams have reached out to Todd Frazier’s camp, including the Angels, Giants and Mets, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (all links to Sherman on Twitter). Frazier isn’t a top priority for the Yankees at present, though they could circle back around to him depending on how the rest of their moves play out. He was linked to the Red Sox earlier today as well.
The 31-year-old Frazier (32 in February), split the 2017 season between the White Sox and Yankees, hitting a combined .213/.344/.428 with 27 homers in 576 plate appearances. Though Frazier’s played just 78 innings at first base since Opening Day 2016, he does come with 740 career innings at the position and is drawing interest at both corner infield spots, per Sherman. More notably, it seems that his frequent re-positioning in defensive shifts created a belief among some teams that Frazier could even play an adequate second base if needed, per the report.
Frazier’s batting average has plummeted in recent years, though that’s due largely to a massive uptick in infield flies than any sort of erosion in contact skills. Frazier whiffed at a 21.7 percent rate last season, which is hardly outlandish in today’s offensive climate. However, he also popped out 31 times — fifth most in baseball — and his 109 infield flies dating back to the 2015 season are far and away the most in baseball.
That said, Frazier’s overall approach at the plate also came with some positive indicators. His 25 percent chase rate (swings outside the strike zone), far and away the lowest of his career, tied him for the 26th-best mark among big league hitters. He also made contact at a career-high 76.9 percent clip and walked in a career-best 14.4 percent of his plate appearances. Those gains in plate discipline helped to offset his lack of contact and left his overall offensive output at healthy levels (105 OPS+, 108 wRC+).
Moving Frazier around the diamond certainly enhances his appeal, though it also should be emphasized that he still draws strong marks as a defender at third base. Though he had an abnormally poor year in that regard in 2016, Defensive Runs Saved (+10) and Ultimate Zone Rating (+6.7) both felt his defense was among the best in the game. Only Nolan Arenado ranked above Frazier in both DRS and UZR this past season.
The Giants have no clear answer at third base, with Pablo Sandoval and prospects Christian Arroyo and Ryder Jones representing the top internal options at the moment. San Francisco third basemen combined to post a putrid .216/.268/.300 batting line in 2017, so it wouldn’t take much to raise the bar from an offensive standpoint. The Angels, meanwhile, have Luis Valbuena as an option at the hot corner, but Frazier would seem to represent a more palatable option there and could help out around the infield as needed.
As for the Mets, David Wright’s longstanding health concerns and T.J. Rivera’s Tommy John surgery have combined with the inexperience of Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith to create a sizable amount of uncertainty. The team does have Asdrubal Cabrera as an option to bounce around the infield, and bringing in Frazier as a more regular option at third base could free him up to take some reps at second base.