MAY 13: Frazier has elected free agency, Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette tweets.
MAY 10: The Pirates announced that infielder Todd Frazier has been designated for assignment. Ben Gamel, recently claimed off waivers from the Indians, will take Frazier’s spot on Pittsburgh’s roster.
“The Toddfather” initially signed a minor league deal with the Pirates during the offseason, then opted out of that contract near the end of Spring Training only to re-sign with the club a few days later. Frazier did end up seeing some time on the Bucs’ big league roster, but he hit only .086/.200/.114 over 40 plate appearances.
Despite this lack of offense, the timing of Frazier’s DFA comes at something of an unexpected moment, given that Colin Moran was just placed on the 10-day injured list and Bryan Reynolds is also day-to-day with an unspecified lower-body injury. Gamel can fill in for Reynolds, and Phillip Evans seems like the logical choice to be moved to first base, with such other internal options like Troy Stokes Jr., Hunter Owen, and minor league signing Wilmer Difo all vying for playing time until Reynolds, Moran, and Ke’Bryan Hayes are all healthy.
A veteran of 11 MLB seasons and a former two-time All-Star, Frazier was still swinging a productive bat as recently as 2019, when he hit .251/.329/.443 (104 OPS+, 106 wRC+) over 499 PA for the Mets. Since that season, however, Frazier has only a .616 OPS over 212 PA with the Mets, Rangers, and Pirates. Assuming he clears DFA waivers, the 35-year-old figures to get some looks from teams in need of corner infield help. Frazier is still a capable fielder at first base and third base, and apart from his 2021 numbers, he has still been solid against left-handed pitching.