The bartering of talent in Cincinnati continued when the Cincinnati Reds dealt Todd Frazier to the Chicago White Sox in a three-team deal that also included the Los Angeles Dodgers. Three team deals get really tricky and usually what happens is one of the teams shoehorns themselves in when their presence wasn’t really necessary. We saw that gambit described in detail in Moneyball where Billy Beane would always try to include himself in other teams business. Obviously, Andrew Friedman graduated from the same school of thought. First, let’s take a look at the particulars.
Chicago White Sox Get: 3B Todd Frazier
Why the White Sox do this deal
The White Sox surrendered three prospects in this deal. They contributed Trayce Thompson, Micah Johnson, and Frankie Montas in order to get Frazier. In essence, the Dodgers were more interested in their players, so they sent the players to Los Angeles instead of Cincinnati. Obviously, the White Sox are interested in competing in the AL Central, and they feel they need to rebuild their infield to do it. They’ve already acquired Brett Lawrie from the Oakland Athletics, and he will shift over to second base with Frazier in tow.
Frazier has combined to hit 64 home runs the last two seasons in Cincinnati. He will make 7.5 million in 2016 and will have one more season of arbitration before hitting free agency after 2017. In the modern game, you can’t get 30+ home run bats for 7.5 million. Adding him to a lineup that already includes Jose Abreu will hopefully give them enough punch to compete in a very competitive division. They surrendered three players that had cups of coffee with the team, but none of them were cornerstone players.
Why the Reds do this deal
This is the beginning of a rebuilding project by the Reds. They had a deal in hand with the Dodgers for Aroldis Chapman, but he got into some legal hot water. One would presume he will be dealt as soon as his situation gets sorted out. There are also rumors of Brandon Phillips being dealt to the Washington Nationals eventually. The idea is for them to trade all of the players that are making quite a bit of money or will make quite a bit of money and rebuild around Joey Votto.
Jose Peraza will likely take Phillips’ place once he is dealt. Brandon Dixon has the look of a super utility guy. He split time between advanced A-ball and AA this past season and hit 19 home runs playing second base and the outfield. He enjoyed some success in the Arizona Fall League and the Reds hope he will carry that forward. Schebler made his debut this past season and hit three home runs in a cup of coffee. He hit 55 home runs between 2013 and 2014 at the minor league level, but slipped back to 13 this past season. He’s played all three outfield positions, so there is a chance he may take Jay Bruce’s slot if he is also traded this offseason.
Why the Dodgers do this deal
Friedman and company figured out a way to get themselves involved in a deal that really didn’t involve them. I suppose the Reds got three prospects they would rather have and could immediately help them. In the Dodgers case, they jettisoned three guys that wouldn’t figure to help them in the short term and replaced them with some players that could possibly make an impact. The prize of the deal just might be Frankie Montas. Montas is still only 22, but he has been around in the minors since he has been 17. Last season, he was 5-5 in AAA with a 2.97 ERA in 112 innings. He has a live arm and might stick in middle relief this season.
Trayce Thompson and Micah Johnson serve as insurance in case they have problems with their veterans this season. Yasiel Puig has had some issues and Thompson can certainly cover both corner outfield slots. Carl Crawford might as well have the training room named after him. Thompson could get 300 to 400 at bats without being a regular in either slot. The Dodgers signed Chase Utley, but he may have already fallen over the hill. Johnson can serve as insurance at that spot.
What this deal means for you
In the past two seasons, Todd Frazier has averaged more than 30 home runs per season, but did not get to 90 RBI in either season. He didn’t reach 90 runs scored either. It would have been difficult to call Frazier a top five third baseman had he remained in Cincinnati. If they follow through with dealing Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce it will be hard to consider anyone in Cincinnati a good fantasy candidate. In Chicago, Frazier stands the chance to see a boost in runs scored and/or RBI depending on where he lands in that lineup.