Well the Reds are now officially in rebuild mode after trading third baseman Todd Frazier in a three-team deal on Wednesday. The return, on paper, doesn't look as good as most thought the Reds could get in return for two more years of Frazier. The details:
White Sox: get Todd Frazier for two years, and a compensatory draft pick in 2018
Reds: get Jose Peraza, Scott Schebler, Brandon Dixon
Dodgers: get Frankie Montas, Trayce Thompson, Micah Johnson
The White Sox receive third baseman Todd Frazier for the next two seasons, and will pay him $7.5 million in 2016 and whatever he earns in arbitration in 2017, which could be a significant increase from him 2016 salary. Frazier will be a free agent after the 2017 season, so the White Sox will make him a qualifying offer, which he will reject, so they will receive a compensatory draft pick in the 2018 MLB Draft.
The move from Riverfront......I mean Great American Ball Park to US Cellular Field doesn't really change Frazier's fantasy value all that much, as both parks are hitter's parks. According to Stat Corner, GABP was 13% above league average in home runs for right-handed hitters, while US Cellular Field was 12% above league average, so not a big difference.
Earlier this offseason, the White Sox traded for infielder Brett Lawrie, who will now move from third base to second base, with Tyler Saladino holding down shortstop for the time being. Coming off a season where he hit .255-.309-.498 with 35 home runs, 82 runs scored, 89 RBI and 13 stolen bases, Frazier will hit in the middle of the White Sox lineup, behind Adam Eaton, Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu, with Adam LaRoche and Laurie hitting behind him
Lawrie's fantasy value increases a bit, as the move from third base to second base is a positive. He is coming off a 2015 season where he hit .260-.299-.407 with 16 home runs, 64 runs scored, 60 RBI and 5 stolen bases playing in Oakland, so the move to US Cellular should improve his power numbers a bit.
The Reds received three prospects from the Dodgers in this deal, including infielder Jose Peraza, outfielder Scott Schebler and second base prospect Brandon Dixon. Both Peraza and Schebler are big league ready and should see plenty of playing time in Cincinnati in 2016.
Peraza is the guy the Reds wanted badly and is presumably one of the prospects that would have been sent to the Reds in the nixed deal for closer Aroldis Chapman. He was once a top 100 prospect in most of the major Top 100 lists, but now has lost some shine after being traded for the second time in less than six months. His prospect status for 2016 increased a great deal after this trade, as he should be the Reds starting second baseman, assuming current second baseman Brandon Phillips is traded. If not, Peraza will probably start the season in AAA, or be a utility infielder until Phillips is traded. The Nationals are rumored to be interested in trading for Phillips, and according to Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal, the two teams are discussing a deal. Peraza should hit around .270 with the speed to steal 30+ bases in a full time role this season, with the chance for upside to the stolen base projection.
Our prospect team just published their Dodgers Top 10 Fantasy Prospects for 2016, and had lots of conversation about the fantasy impact that Peraza will have in the big leagues:
#8 - Jose Peraza (2B/SS)
Age on Opening Day: 21
Peraza was probably the most discussed prospect on this list as the opinions were drastically different. Some see Peraza as a "Jose Reyes" type prospect and others see him as nothing more than a stop gap utility man.
The pros: Peraza holds elite speed with the ability to steal 40+ bases over a 162 game season. He's shown the ability to hit for average over the last 4 minor league seasons.
The cons: Peraza offers no power in his game; he's only hit 9 HR in his minor league career. He rarely walks and will mainly rely on singles to get on base.
Peraza's ability to succeed will heavily depend on how well his bat translates to the next level. Playing against elite defensive players every day could inhibit his ability to reach base consistently, given that he doesn't walk a whole lot. Peraza is a solid candidate for dynasty leagues and could be a useful source of steals in deeper re-draft leagues if he gets solid playing time. The Dodgers resigned 2B Chase Utley, which could greatly hinder Peraza's playing time in 2016.
The Reds also received outfielder Scott Schebler, who should form the better side of a left field platoon in Cincy with Adam Duvall. After hitting 27 and 28 home runs with a solid OBP in the lower minors, Shebler hit .241-.322-.410 with 13 home runs, 57 runs scored, 50 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 485 plate appearances in AAA last season. He has 20-25 home run power wth the chance for double digit stolen bases, but that could come with a low batting average.
Brandon Dixon is a soon-to-be 24 year old second base prospect who hit 19 home runs and stole 26 bases in stints in High A and AA last season. He is probably just an org/depth player right now, and doesn't hold much fantasy value in keeper or dynasty leagues.
After the deal was announced, Reds GM Walt Jocketty stated that infielder Eugenio Suarez will be the Reds every day third baseman in 2016. Suarez is coming off a 2015 season where he hit .280-.315-.446 with 13 home runs, 42 runs scored, and 48 RBI in 398 plate appearances last season. Somehow after never hitting more than 9 home runs in any one season in the minors, Suarez hit 21 between AAA and the big leagues last season, so I wouldn't expect a repeat in the power department. That said, his fantasy value increases as a result of this trade, as his playing time increases.
The Dodgers received three big league ready prospects in second baseman Micah Johnson, outfielder Trayce Thompson and pitching prospect Frankie Montas. Montas is the big get here, as some think he can be a #2-3 starter in the big leagues, as he sits 93-97 with his fastball, and has exceeded 100 mph in shorter stints in the minors. Here is what ESPN's Keith Law wrote about him yesterday:
Frankie Montas throws 100 mph -- he hit 101 in a short stint at the 2015 Futures Game -- with a hard slider in the upper 80s but terrible command. He's a big, somewhat awkward kid who has had trouble repeating his delivery, and when he's throwing 98-plus mph, it can get pretty straight, so while he hasn't walked a ton of guys in the minors, his command has remained poor, and I think a lot of his success in the lower levels came from just blowing guys away with velocity.
Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi stated on MLB Network Radio last night that Montas can be a "really good" starter in the big leagues, but many feel his future role will be as a late inning reliever. I think he could be Kenley Jansen's replacement as the Dodgers closer in 2017 after Jansen leaves for free agency.
Here is what our prospect team wrote about Montas in their White Sox Top 10 Fantasy Prospects for 2016:
#3 - Frankie Montas (RHP)
Age on Opening Day 2016: 23
Montas made his major league debut in 2015, making two starts and five relief appearances in September. The reports on Montas start with his fastball, an 80-grade pitch which routinely hit triple digits in the minors. He also adds a potential plus slider and a changeup that needs work. If he can continue to develop the changeup to be at least an average offering, the other two pitches are good enough for him to be a mid-rotation starting pitcher. If not, he ends up in the bullpen throwing absolute gas with two strikeout offerings and a likely future as a top tier closer.
The Dodgers also received infielder Micah Johnson, who has decent power and excellent speed. Johnson will more than likely platoon at second base with Enrique Hernandez and could be the Dodgers lead off hitter when he is in the lineup. Johnson struggled in his 114 plate appearances in the big leagues last season, but has hit over .300 and stolen 20 or more bases at every level of the minors, including 83 stolen bases in the lower minors in 2013. If he plays every day, he could steal 30+ bases.
The third prospect the Dodgers received in this deal is outfielder Trayce Thompson is a soon-to-be 25 year old outfielder who hit well in his major league debut last season, hitting .295-.363-.533 with 5 home runs, 17 runs scored, 16 RBI and a stolen base in 135 plate appearances. Here is what Law wrote about Thompson yesterday:
Trayce Thompson might be a 70 defender in center field right now and has plus power, but he has a long swing and has always had trouble maintaining a good contact rate. He has a high floor as a quality fourth outfielder because of his defense, and it's not unreasonable to think he might be a Kevin Pillar type, so good on defense that he could be a regular even with a .300 OBP and 15 homers.
Thompson, right now, is a 4th outfielder who can play all three outfield positions. Here is what Dodgers GM Zaidi said about Thompson in his interview on MLB Network Radio last night:
Zaidi says Trayce Thompson will platoon in all 3 outfield spots but thinks he can be an everyday player.— Ray Guilfoyle (@faketeams) December 17, 2015
Our prospect team ranked Thompson as the White Sox #4 prospect in their White Sox Top10 series:
#4 - Trayce Thompson (OF)
Age on Opening Day 2016: 25
Thompson has taken a long time to get to the majors, but after hitting five home runs in 44 games in the majors, looks to be a candidate for the Opening Day roster in 2016. While he hit .295 in the majors this year, he's not expected to provide a lot of batting average long-term, but should still be an excellent play for counting stats provided he gets consistent playing time. A 15 HR/15 SB outfielder should still have a lot of value even if he hits .230-.240.
I think the Dodgers will make more deals in the coming days and weeks, with the possibility that one of Joc Pederson or Yasiel Puig is traded for a young, controllable starting pitcher like Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, Indians starters Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar or maybe Athletics starter Sonny Gray, as they have a really stacked farm system right now and can easily deal a few of their highly rated prospects in a package for a starting pitcher.