FEB 20: The Pirates have formally announced the signing of Frazier. He has received an invite to spring training.
FEB 19: The Pirates and veteran corner infielder Todd Frazier are in agreement on a minor league contract, longtime New York Post scribe Kevin Kernan reports (via Twitter). Kevin Williams of the Shore Sports Network writes that Frazier himself confirmed the agreement to him. Frazier, a CAA Baseball client, will head to Major League camp with the Pirates as a non-roster invitee. Frazier will earn a $1.5MM salary if he makes the club, Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic tweets. The deal is pending a physical.
Frazier, who turned 35 last Friday, is a 10-year veteran who has appeared with the Reds, White Sox, Yankees, Mets and Rangers since his 2011 debut. He has consistently been an above-average producer at the plate, having slashed .242/.319/.448 (108 wRC+) with 218 home runs and 73 stolen bases in 4,909 trips. Frazier has also twice hit at least 35 homers in an individual season, earned a pair of All-Star nods and been a plus defender at third, where he has put up 20 Defensive Runs Saved and a 24.6 Ultimate Zone Rating across almost 9,100 innings at the position.
While Frazier has enjoyed an impressive career thus far, he had to settle for a minors deal with the bottom-feeding Pirates because of subpar production between the Mets and Rangers in 2020. Frazier hit a mere .236/.302/.382 (89 wRC+) with four HRs and a career-worst .146 ISO in 172 PA. Frazier also notched rather ugly Statcast numbers, evidenced in part by a .295 expected weighted on-base average that ranked in the league’s 15th percentile and barely outpaced his real wOBA of .281.
Although his production fell off last year, there’s no harm in taking a low-risk chance on Frazier from the Pirates’ perspective. Frazier could at least be a bench option for the team behind the projected third-first tandem of Ke’Bryan Hayes and Colin Moran if he earns a roster spot. If Frazier performs well in that role, the Pirates may be able to flip him elsewhere prior to the trade deadline.