After a mediocre first season with the Mets and an awful start to his second season, Toms River’s finest Todd Frazier has settled in and earned himself a spot on the trading block.
Nearly across the board, Frazier is matching his career offensive production, with a .250/.335/.442 line and a 109 wRC+, alongside a 19% strikeout rate that’s the best of his career. He’s lost a step defensively, but that’s to be expected at 33 years old, and starting out at an elite level means he’s still plenty serviceable.
The trade deadline for position players is often a little lower-key than for pitchers, but if we look back a couple of years, there’s a reasonable comparison to be made to get a sense of Frazier’s value. A 31-year-old right handed slugger with a slick glove at third base named Todd Frazier was traded from the White Sox to the Yankees. Sure, this Frazier has a few more miles on him than that Frazier, but he is having a slightly better season so far than he was then, so they roughly balance out.
So in envisioning what a Frazier trade might look like, let’s look at the Frazier trade. The White Sox, well out of contention with a number of pending free agents on the team, did a full house-cleaning that year and packaged Frazier together with a pair of excellent relievers, including closer David Robertson. The trio brought back a top-50 prospect in A-ball, two other marginal prospects, and Tyler Clippard, as partial salary relief to balance out the well-compensated Robertson.
With a player like Frazier, who on his own is a narrow niche to fill—righty corner infielder with pop who will probably be coming off the bench for a contender—packaging him with another player could be the Mets best chance of getting a quality return. Adding Frazier to a Zack Wheeler trade could bolster the value that Wheeler’s injury has cost him. Frazier and Jason Vargas could also team up, though you’re still probably looking at a prospect well outside the top 100 for any combination that doesn’t include Wheeler.
As in 2017, Frazier lacks the clear everyday impact needed to bring back a significant piece on his own, so the pressure is on the front office to come up with a creative arrangement that doesn’t end up looking like pure salary relief—which, even for the Mets, shouldn’t be impossible as he’s owed less than $4 million at this point. There’s no slam dunk like Robertson this year, but if Brodie Van Wagenen wants to make a statement in his first deadline deal, Frazier can get him partway there.