Since the signing of Mesoraco, the Reds only have two arbitration cases remaining. Todd Frazier and Aroldis Chapman. The one I’m most undecided about is Todd Frazier. As for Chapman, you should never pay a closer a bunch of money. If Chapman can’t bring you back anything in a trade, you have to cut ties if he is going to want big money. With Frazier, we have a 29 year old 3rd baseman with 3 full seasons under his belt. Do you realize Edwin Encarnacion is 32 and has been in the majors for 11 seasons now?
Frazier had his best season of his career in 2014, tying Josh Donaldson for most home runs by a third baseman and finishing tied for 5th with Josh Harrison (former Bearcat and Princeton High alum) in WAR (5.3). Kyle Seager was fourth in WAR (5.8) and is 27 years old. Seager can do everything that Frazier can do except steal bases. Seattle just signed Seager to a 7 year $100 million contract. However, Frazier is a little more Chase Headley than he is Kyle Seager. In the comparable department, Headley is Frazier’s number one. The Yankees recently gave Headley $52 million over 4 years.
Frazier is old for his years of experience and nothing in his numbers suggest that he can improve on 2014. The problem with Frazier is that he is a free swinger, he doesn’t take many walks and therefore he is more likely to repeat 2013 (.234/.314/.406) more often than he is going to repeat 2014 (.273/.336/.459). Like Headley, if Frazier is seeing the ball well and in a groove, he can punish mistake pitches. However, he doesn’t battle at the plate and he led all third basemen in strike outs last year. Frazier is one of those guys who can out physical mediocre pitchers but can put the bat on the ball against good pitching.
I really hope the Reds don’t go and do something crazy like give Frazier an eight figure long-term deal. If you can get him for 3 years, I’d consider resigning him but this team is on the verge of driving off the contention cliff and into the world of the Philadelphia Phillies. The only problem with the Phillies comparison is that the Phillies have a recent World Series Championship to show for all of their bad contracts.
The Reds are not a small market team and as Paul Daugherty pointed out this week, “this is a regional team with lots of big places no more than two hours away.”