Todd Frazier is a two-time All Star and has seen the majority of his offensive statistics improve each year since his debut with the Cincinnati Reds in 2011. The Chicago White Sox are rumored to be kicking the tires on Frazier, so why would he not be a good fit on the South Side?
Check the return package the Reds are asking for.
According to multiple reports, the Reds are commanding either Tim Anderson or Carson Fulmer in a deal involving Frazier, who is under contract through the 2016 season and is arbitration eligible the following year. Anderson, a prized shortstop ranked as the club’s No. 1 prospect, is waiting in the wings following the departure of veteran Alexei Ramirez at the position. Fulmer was Chicago’s first round selection in this past year’s draft and is expected to bolster the rotation in the coming years.
The Sox acquired Brett Lawrie from the A’s Wednesday evening, which gives fifth-year manager Robin Ventura a little added versatility in the infield. However, since Lawrie can play both third base and second base, the Sox appear to be looking to add another power bat to the lineup, particularly at the hot corner. That’s where Frazier comes in.
This past season, Frazier smacked 35 home runs and drove in 89 during a rough year for the Reds. He was named to his second consecutive All Star game. However, with the Reds seemingly in the midst of a rebuild, Frazier is expendable.
If a trade is drawn up, dealing away Anderson would hurt the Sox the most. Currently, Tyler Saladino is slotted at short, which can tide the club over for a year or two, however, he is doubtfully a long-term answer at the position. Last year, Anderson batted .312 five home runs and 46 RBI with AA Birmingham. He also stole 49 bases and finished third in AA with 12 triples. He is expected to fill a major hole in the lineup in the next few years.
Shipping Fulmer to Cincinnati wouldn’t be much better. After some more development in the minors, he will bolster a rotation that already features Chris Sale, a solid No. 2 in José Quintana and another promising young arm in Carlos Rodon. All three of the aforementioned pitchers are southpaws. Fulmer, a right-hander, would add a little variety to the rotation.
If a deal involving Frazier is made, he would assuredly take the spot at third. Lawrie would likely move to second and take Carlos Sanchez’s place and Tyler Saladino would remain at short.
However, unless the asking price is lowered for Frazier, a trade seems unlikely. The Cleveland Indians are also rumored to be interested in Frazier, but as of Thursday afternoon, nothing had been reported to be heating up on that front.
An interesting alternate route the Sox could take would be to take a look at Carlos González. “CarGo,” a three-time Gold Glover and two-time Silver Slugger, likely has a lower price than Frazier because of health concerns. González suffered a multitude of injuries during the 2014 season, including a knee injury that carried over from 2013 and forced him to miss much of the year.
However, if the Sox can pull a deal for González without giving up Fulmer or Anderson, it would considered a home run for Chicago. González would add a much-needed power bat to the lineup to pair alongside 2014 AL Rookie of the Year José Abreu. Currently, the Sox have Melky Cabrera slated in left, Adam Eaton in center and Avisail García and Trayce Thompson platooning in right.
A deal for González might take a package of García and Quintana, both of whom are expendable. García is already going to split time this year after a relatively disappointing 2015 season and it would make sense for the Sox to trade him while he still holds some value. With Sale and Rodon already in place in the rotation and Fulmer waiting in the wings, trading Quintana for a bonafide outfielder in González makes sense as well.
An added bonus for the Sox, should they swing a deal for González, is that he is signed through 2017.