As the 2017 season head into the dog days of summer, the Chicago White Sox look ready to sell off. That means names like Todd Frazier will likely be shopped next month at the trade deadline.
Frazier, the 2015 MLB Home Run Derby Champion, has spent the last two seasons in Chicago. Before then, he spent the first five with the Cincinnati Reds before being dealt to Chicago. Now that he’s in the final year of his deal, the New Jersey native seems bound to being dealt again.
One place that was been reported as a possible landing spot for Frazier is the New York Yankees. While the Yankees are more in need of another pitcher, another slugger couldn’t hurt either. Frazier’s name has already been tied to potential trade rumors with the Boston Red Sox. With Pablo Sandoval struggling, Boston would make sense for Frazier’s services.
The Yankees are in the same boat, as Chase Headley seems like he’s been in a two-month funk. In April, Headley was hitting .301. Since May 1, Headley is hitting .198 (20-for-101) and now hitting .232 on the year. The Yankees are prepping Gleyber Torres to be the next third baseman in the minors, but won’t want to rush him too soon. Torres is seen as another long-term roster staple for the Yankees and wouldn’t want to hurt his progress.
There have been reports that the Yankees are exploring the market with Headley’s struggles at third. Josh Donaldson’s name has been mentioned but doesn’t seem likely. Mike Moustakas has also been whispered as well. Now Frazier’
So in the meantime, the Yankees could look for a short-term answer for the second half of the season. And that’s where Frazier comes into play. As a bat, Todd Frazier is a tremendous upgrade over Headley. But where this trade would come in handy would be Frazier’s ability to also fill in at first base as well. Joel Reuter of Bleacher Report discussed how Frazier was a realistic option for the Yankees at the deadline.
“New York Yankees fans have not taken kindly to suggestions that the team should go out and acquire a first baseman, pointing to the impending return of Greg Bird as reason enough to cross that position off the shopping list. Fair enough, but let’s remember that Bird was hitting just .100 with 22 strikeouts in 72 plate appearances before he got hurt and the position as a whole has produced a .172/.278/.320 line. Upgrading in the short term with a rental bat wouldn’t mean the team is giving up on Bird; it’s simply that they’re committed to winning with a team that has exceeded expectations. Eric Hosmer and Yonder Alonso are the top first basemen expected to be available, but Todd Frazier could make more sense for the Yankees. While first base has been the team’s biggest hole from a production standpoint, third base isn’t far behind as Chase Headley hit a wall after a strong start. Frazier could potentially provide an upgrade at both positions and that would still leave the door open for a productive Bird to return to the everyday first base gig.”
With Chris Carter being an all-or-nothing hitter and with Greg Bird dealing with injuries, Frazier could be an alternative option to play first base. Even when he returns from the DL, Bird isn’t guaranteed to find his form. Having another option to play at first wouldn’t hurt the Yankees in their quest for the postseason.
Some fans might look at Frazier’s current average and be turned away: he’s hitting .206. But he’s starting to heat up, as he’s hitting .348 in the month of June. For an expiring contract in Frazier, the White Sox can’t ask for top prospects like they can with Jose Quintana. When the Yankees inquired on Quintana, Chicago asked for Clint Frazier and Aaron Judge as a starting point. But with Frazier set to hit free agency in November, Chicago won’t get that type of haul.
The Yankees could always choose to stand pat and hope for the best with Bird and Carter at first and Headley at third. But Hal Steinbrenner has said that the Yankees will make a run for the playoffs. Steinbrenner will likely green-light a trade that helps the Yankees for October.
Todd Frazier could end up helping the Yankees in the second half. Considering his ability to perform on the big stage, playing some 60 miles from his home would be a thrill for him. And the chance to win a championship playing close to home would also be ideal.
Brian Cashman is very savvy when it comes to making the right trades. He won’t oversell on a rental-type player. But he’s also very good at getting the right deal. Three years ago, he did just that when he got Headley. At the time, Headley’s deal with the San Diego Padres was expiring and the Yankees got him for the second half.
Three years later, maybe Cashman pulls off another deal in trying to pry away Todd Frazier from Chicago.