The White Sox are certainly paying a hefty price for the man general manager Rick Hahn had been chasing all offseason. Wednesday morning, CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman reported that the White Sox acquired Frazier as part of a three-team deal involving the Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Frankie Montas, the organization’s No. 3 prospect, along with Trayce Thompson and Micah Johnson will head to the Dodgers. During Winter Meetings, trade talks centered on Frazier coming to Chicago stalled as the Reds were reportedly asking for either Carson Fulmer, the White Sox first round selection in this past year’s MLB Draft, or Tim Anderson, the club’s No. 1 prospect.
Frazier, a two-time All Star, hit .255 last season with 35 home runs and 89 RBI. The Sox were in dire need of a big-time third baseman, even after the acquisition of Brett Lawrie from the Oakland A’s. Lawrie will likely move to second base and Tyler Saladino will stay at short. Frazier’s WAR last year was 4.0 and 5.2 in 2014.
Frazier is under contract for the next two seasons and becomes arbitration eligible in 2017, before hitting free agency the following season. Not only is he a manageable asset, but Frazier should provide a nice boost to the clubhouse atmosphere in Chicago, as well. He was known as a natural leader in Cincinnati and will hopefully bring that same mentality to the South Side.
Montas may be the biggest name leaving Chicago in the deal, but he is certainly not the piece that hurts the most. Thompson was expected to fill a hole in right field this year after a disappointing 2015 season out of Avisail Garcia. The pair were likely to platoon in right, with Thompson also getting some looks in center.
The Dodgers continue to amass young pitching prospects by snagging Montas. The club now features Montas, Jose De Leon and Julio Urias and is well-built for the future and could potentially be a marker for other moves.
The Reds picked up three prospects from Los Angeles in the blockbuster deal, the biggest name being Jose Peraza, who was believed to be included in the Aroldis Chapman deal, now negated because of an ongoing investigation.
With the addition of Frazier, the White Sox lineup is stacked up very nicely after this flurry of offseason moves. Hahn did well to replace catchers Tyler Flowers and Geovany Soto with Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro, add a versatile infielder in Lawrie and now Frazier. The Sox certainly won’t be the favorites in the division race, but with Jose Abreu and Chris Sale in their primes, Rick Hahn needed to pull off a move that would make this team relevant here and now.
He did just that.