The Chicago White Sox continue restructuring their infield, this time acquiring longtime Cincinnati Reds’ third baseman Todd Frazier in a three-team deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Reds.
C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer first reported that Frazier would be on the move.
In exchange for the soon-to-be 30-year-old, Frazier, the Reds will receive infield prospects Jose Peraza and Brandon Dixon alongside outfield prospect Scott Schebler from Los Angeles. The Dodgers will receive Frankie Montas, Micah Johnson, and Trayce Thompson from the White Sox. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported the returns that the Reds and Dodgers would receive.
A mainstay at the hot corner for the Reds since 2011, the Toms River, New Jersey native Frazier tweeted his thanks to Reds fans and expressed excitement in playing for the White Sox.
First off I’d like to thank the Reds fans for their support over the last five years you guys will always have a special place in my heart.
— Todd Frazier (@FlavaFraz21) December 16, 2015
2nd I can’t wait to start my next chapter with the chi White Sox. Can’t wait to represent the southside. It’s going to be a fun season
— Todd Frazier (@FlavaFraz21) December 16, 2015
Last season’s winner of the Home Run Derby, Frazier struggled in the second half, hitting just.220. During the first half, he was a.278 hitter. But 2015 ended as Frazier’s best power season as he finished with 35 HR and 89 RBI through 157 games. The former two-time All-Star’s addition to the White Sox will shift the recently acquired Brett Lawrie to second base.
Frazier is a career.257 hitter with 108 HR and 324 RBI in five seasons.
The Reds’ big acquisition in this deal is the 22-year-old, speedy infielder Peraza. Acquired from the Atlanta Braves in a 13-player trade at the trade deadline this past summer, Peraza was ranked as the Dodgers’ fourth-best prospect by Baseball America. While he did collect four hits in 22 at-bats (.182) in September, Peraza’s stolen base ability and solid hitting in the minors is one of the reasons the Reds have coveted him.
Rumors of stalwart Brandon Phillips being traded have picked up, so if he’s dealt, Peraza can slot right into second base for Cincinnati. If not, he has experience at shortstop and centerfield, too. The Reds tried acquiring Peraza in the failed trade that would’ve sent closer Aroldis Chapman to the Dodgers earlier in the offseason.
Another player who could see time in the majors next season is the 25-year-old outfielder Schebler. Much like Peraza, Schebler received a cup of coffee with the Dodgers in September, hitting three HR and driving in four runs in 36 at-bats. Considered to be middle-of-the-pack as far as the Dodgers’ Top 30 prospects, Schebler’s “raw power” will help him generate home runs, despite his struggles at Triple-A in 2015. Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel describe Schebler prior to 2015 as someone who “”fits the bill as an under-the-radar performer who could surprise.”
Schebler is best suited as a corner outfielder, which happens to be an area of need for the Reds; especially if the team ends up trading Jay Bruce.
The final piece of the trade for the Reds is the 2015 third round draft pick, Dixon. He did well in the lower minors before struggling upon his promotion of Double-A. As noted by MLB Trade Rumors, the 23-year-old did well in the Arizona Fall League, hitting.295.
As for the Dodgers, they get some talented, but overall unproven prospects. The 23-year-old Montas can reach triple digits with his fastball, but his lack of command will likely see him end up as a reliever. He was recently ranked as the 17th best prospect in the Double-A Southern League, per Baseball America.
The soon-to-be 25-year-old Johnson has long been praised for his elite speed — including his 84-steal season in minors during 2013. Johnson also made his MLB debut in 2015, hitting just.230 in 100 at-bats. But his defense is reportedly shaky and needs some work. He will likely begin the season as Triple-A with Chase Utley present, but in the event of an injury, he will likely get another shot at the big league level.
Finally, the Dodgers also acquired Trayce Thompson, the brother of NBA superstar Klay Thompson and son of former NBA player Mychal Thompson. While Trayce showed some pop in his bat in 2015 — hitting.295 with five HR in 44 MLB games — his power has never been his calling card.
MLB Trade Rumors notes that Thompson projects as a fourth outfielder, but with the Dodgers’ crowded outfield, he’s likely ticketed for Triple-A.
It’s likely that Frazier’s abysmal second half in 2015 stifled his trade value, but for his above average career defense and power, the Reds are taking a gamble by replacing him with just two near MLB ready prospects and a fringe third prospect.
[Featured Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images]