A few weeks ago, ESPN's Buster Olney opined that the Reds should see what kind of offers they could get for All Star third baseman Todd Frazier. Here is what he wrote in his blog post back on June 4th:
The Reds should take offers before July 31 for third baseman Todd Frazier, who will be eligible for free agency in a couple of years and will never have a higher market value then right now, at a time when the most coveted asset is right-handed power. Because of the contracts of Joey Votto and Homer Bailey, Cincinnati probably won't be able to afford Frazier -- and even if he agreed to terms, the Reds would be so boxed in by the small group of onerous contracts that they could afford little else. This is why the Braves moved Justin Upton and Heyward; they couldn't squeeze their contracts onto a moderately sized payroll.
Frazier is signed to a very cheap $3 million for 2015 and $7.5 million in 2016, so the Reds could get a huge return from teams interested in their right-handed power hitter. He is arbitration eligible in 2017 where his salary should sky-rocket as long as he stays healthy and performing like he is now. He becomes a free agent after the 2017 season, so teams looking to deal for him would have his rights for the next 2.5 seasons.
Like Olney wrote, the Joey Votto and Homer Bailey contracts will limit how much they can offer Frazier in 2017 and in any long term contract, so they should trade him now.The Reds aren't going to contend with the Cardinals, Pirates and Cubs all playing well and built to compete over the next few seasons. The Reds should hold a fire sale right now, and rebuild for a run at the division and playoffs in 2017-2018. They can use what the Athletics received in return for third baseman Josh Donaldson as a barometer for what they could get in any deal involving Frazier.
Here is what Billy Beane received in return for Donaldson last offseason:
So, Beane received an every day third baseman in Lawrie, a young major league ready pitching prospect in Graveman, a shortstop prospect in Barretto and a AAAA pitcher in Nolin.
The Mets have the resources and prospects to make a deal for Frazier, especially with third baseman David Wright out indefinitely. So, what could the Mets offer the Reds in return for Frazier. Well, it would certainly hurt, but the fact that they are only two games behind the Nationals as we head into the break and they have a real need to improve their lineup, now is the time to take action.
Here is what they could offer the Reds for Frazier:
- Wilmer Flores
Flores can't play shortstop but has a solid bat. The Mets are looking to upgrade at shortstop with rumors that they are talking to the Brewers about Jean Segura, and with Daniel Murphy returning soon, Flores won't have a position.
- one of Steven Matz or Zach Wheeler
Yes, I know both are injured, but I don't see the Mets dealing Noah Syndergaard now that he is dominating in the big leagues. Matz has a lat injury that will keep him out for about a month or so, while Wheeler is recovering from Tommy John surgery.
- Amed Rosario
Rosario is the Mets top shortstop prospect, but he is years away from helping a team that is ready to win now.
- Rafael Montero
With the Mets rotation pretty much set for the next five years, Montero has no spot in their rotation unless someone gets hurt.
In summary, the deal would look like this:
Seems like a steep price to pay, right? I agree, but to get a cheap power hitting All Star third baseman, the price won't be cheap. I could see the Mets taking Flores out of the deal, and the Reds still taking the offer.
Now, if Frazier were to become available in the trade market, I could see several other teams looking to deal for him, namely the Nationals who could offer top pitching prospect Lucas Giolito, as they have a real need to bolster their lineup with Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman and Denard Span on the disabled list right now. Another team who could get involved is the Pirates, who just lost third baseman Josh Harrison to the disabled list for the next seven weeks. But, the Mets are a good fit for the Reds and Frazier went to college at Rutgers in New Jersey, so he is a local boy.
Is that too much to offer for the All Star third baseman?