The Mets’ third base situation has been in a state of flux since David Wright was diagnosed with spinal stenosis in 2015. While the team is leaning toward playing Asdrubal Cabrera at third next year, it hasn’t ruled out moving Cabrera to second and acquiring a third baseman elsewhere. If they go in that direction, Todd Frazier could be a nice fit in Flushing.
Frazier has been a productive player in each of his six full big league seasons. Since 2012, the New Jersey native has provided around 20 to 40 home runs and 2.5 to 5.0 fWAR every single year. By wRC+, Frazier has been an average-to-well-above-average offensive player, and the defensive metrics rate him as a strong third baseman. Over the last six years, Frazier hit .246/.322/.459 (111 wRC+), while averaging 28 homers, 81 RBIs, 75 runs scored, and 3.4 fWAR per year, and a very solid 5 DRS and 4.7 UZR at third.
Frazier’s success continued with both the White Sox and Yankees in 2017. Despite his low batting average, Frazier’s .213/.344/.428 line yielded an above-average 108 wRC+. The third baseman also contributed an impressive 27 home runs, 76 RBIs, 74 runs, 10 DRS and 6.7 UZR at third, and 3.0 fWAR.
Frazier’s good health and consistent production would be a welcome change for the Mets at third base. It also appears that the Mets would be able to land him at a reasonable price. MLB Trade Rumors, for example, predicts that Frazier will sign for $33 million over three years, while Fangraphs’s Dave Cameron projects a three-year contract at $42 million. Given this year’s free agent market, both seem like good deals for a team looking for a solution at third.
Those projections seems especially fair considering what Mike Moustakas, the leading third base free agent, is expected to receive. Both Trade Rumors and Fangraphs project a five-year deal for Moustakas, with the former pegging his total salary at $85 million and the latter at $95 million. Considering that, by fWAR, Frazier has been better than Moustakas in each of the last five years, Frazier seems like a wiser bet at a far more reasonable cost.
Like any free agent, Frazier has his downsides. The first is his age. By signing Frazier now, the Mets will have him for his age 32 through 34 seasons, which is typically when players exit—not enter—their primes.
Second, Frazier has historically not been a patient hitter. Prior to last year, the third baseman never posted an OBP higher than .336, and posted sub-.310 OBPs in both 2015 and 2016. That aggressive offensive approach generally runs counter to the selective philosophy that the Mets preach as an organization. Last year, however, Frazier posted a career-best .344 OBP, fueled by a 14.4% walk rate that was nearly five points higher than his previous career high. That could be an encouraging sign to the Mets’ front office.
With Cabrera, Amed Rosario, and Dominic Smith likely occupying three of the Mets’ four starting infield positions, the team will probably look to add one more starter from outside the organization. Frazier seems like a strong candidate for that spot. For a team looking for stability, productivity, and affordability at third base, the Mets could do a lot worse than the veteran major leaguer from New Jersey.