White Sox acquire Todd Frazier in three-team trade with Reds, Dodgers

45 Comments

Cincinnati’s full-scale rebuild continues, as the Reds have traded All-Star third baseman Todd Frazier to the White Sox in a three-team deal that also involves the Dodgers.

Here’s the full deal:

White Sox get: Todd Frazier
Reds get: Jose Peraza, Scott Schebler, Brandon Dixon
Dodgers get: Frankie Montas, Trayce Thompson, Micah Johnson

Three teams swapping seven total players, all of whom are prospects except for the centerpiece of the entire deal Frazier. Peraza is the key to the Reds’ return and in order for the Dodgers to get involved in the deal by parting with him they receive the hard-throwing Montas from the White Sox.

Frazier had a huge first half for the Reds, making his second All-Star team and winning the Home Run Derby at home in Cincinnati, but then slumped in the second half and finished with totals right in line with his good but not great career norms. He hit .255 with 35 homers and an .806 OPS in 157 games overall, compared to a .259 batting average and .779 OPS from 2012-2014.

Frazier, who’s signed through 2017 at reasonable salaries, brings huge right-handed power to a White Sox lineup that already boasted one of MLB’s best right-handed hitters in Jose Abreu. Chicago previously acquired third baseman Brett Lawrie from Oakland, so that means either Lawrie is headed for second base or Frazier is headed for the outfield.

Peraza was traded from the Braves to the Dodgers in the three-team July blockbuster also involving the Marlins. He played just seven games for the Dodgers, but the 22-year-old prospect projects as an everyday shortstop or second baseman with good contact skills and plus speed. If the Reds end up trading longtime second baseman Brandon Phillips they could hand the position to Peraza immediately.

Schebler is a power-hitting 25-year-old corner outfielder who made his MLB debut for the Dodgers in June. He’s coming off a disappointing season at Triple-A in which he hit just .241 with 13 homers and a .731 OPS in 121 games, but previously put up big numbers at Single-A and Double-A. He projects as a role player but has some upside, whereas Dixon is a 23-year-old second baseman/outfielder viewed as a marginal prospect.

Montas throws extremely hard, but may end up as a full-time reliever rather than an impact starter. At age 22 he posted a 3.94 ERA and 108/48 K/BB ratio in 112 innings spread over 23 starts at Triple-A and also made his MLB debut with two starts and five relief appearances for the White Sox. He’s a high-upside arm, regardless of the role.

Thompson is best known as being NBA star Klay Thompson’s brother, but after posting mediocre numbers in the minors he had a fantastic MLB debut by hitting .295 with five homers and an .896 OPS in 44 games for the White Sox.  He’s a career .244 hitter in the minors, so don’t expect those big numbers to continue, but the 25-year-old center fielder has good speed and 20-homer pop.

Johnson is a 25-year-old second baseman who flopped when handed the White Sox’s starting job as a rookie. He’s hit .296 with 10 homers, 40 steals, and a .768 OPS in 143 games at second base and has enough upside to be a regular if things go well.

This is a very intriguing trade with a lot of moving parts, but the short version is that the Reds traded Frazier for solid but unspectacular middle infield prospect in Peraza, the Dodgers swapped that same middle infield prospect for a hard-throwing 22-year-old pitcher in Montas, and the White Sox added a 30-homer bat at the expense of a good pitching prospect and a pair of future role players.

Ahoy, San Diego: 2019 Winter Meetings Preview

Getty Images
1 Comment

Over the weekend the baseball world will descended on San Diego, California for the 2019 Winter Meetings. Let’s talk about what’ll go down there in the next week.

 

Free Agents

So far this has been a much brisker offseason than the past two, during which it seemed like no one signed between November and February. This year, however, we have already seen top-30 free agents Zack Wheeler, Yasmani Grandal, Cole Hamels, José Abreu, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Moustakas, and Michael Pineda sign, and a handful of others have inked pacts as well.

Still, there’s a lot of work to be done. Top free agent Gerrit Cole has had some heat around him lately, with the Yankees reportedly hot on his trail, and New York has at least had a conversation with San Diego native and resident Stephen Strasburg as well. Beyond them, Anthony Rendon, Madison Bumgarner, Nicholas Castellanos, and Josh Donaldson are all looking for new employers as well.

At the end of October Rotoworld’s Matthew Pouliot ran down the top 111 free agents, from highest-ranked to lowest, to help you get a jump on who is available.

 

Trades

Free agent signings notwithstanding, we are in an age in which a lot of teams are in cost-savings mode. For that reason some big, MVP-caliber names are reportedly on the trading block, including Mookie Betts of the Red Sox, Francisco Lindor of the Indians and, perhaps, Kris Bryant of the Cubs and Nolan Arenado of the Rockies. Beyond them, there has been chatter about the Dodgers dealing Joc Pederson, the Tigers dealing Matthew Boyd and the Pirates and Rockies shopping anyone worth a bag of balls.

Whether any of those big names switch teams, it’s already been a pretty active trading season so far, and it would not be at all surprising of the transaction wire is humming in the next week. We, of course, will have near-instant breakdowns of every deal that goes down, so make sure you keep a window open with this site on it and hit refresh early and often.

 

Managers on Parade

 

Trade deals and free agent negotiations take place behind closed doors, so we can only talk about those once they happen. One of the major public activities of the Winter Meetings is when all 30 of the managers meet and greet the press.

We have a boatload of new managers this year, all of whom have had their happy little press conferences back in their home cities so far. The press availabilities at the Winter Meetings are a bit more in depth and, quite often, feature managers giving more detailed answers to their philosophies and their plans as they prepare for the 2020 season.

New at the little tables and under the bright lights this year: Jayce Tingler with the Padres, Mike Matheny with the Royals, Gabe Kapler with the Giants, David Ross with the Cubs, Derek Shelton with the Pirates, Joe Maddon with the Angels, Carlos Beltrán with the Mets, and Joe Girardi with the Phillies.

And, yes, the tradition like no other continues this year, as I will be ranking all 30 of the current managers on the basis of handsomeness. Here’s last year’s rankings. The new rankings will go up first thing Monday morning. It’s the silliest thing I do all year and, for better or for worse, it’s the thing I’m best known for. What a life I have.

 

Hall of Fame Vote

The Modern Baseball Era Committee — formerly known as the Veterans Committee — will meet on Sunday to vote in, or not vote in, new inductees for the Hall of Fame. For the past two weeks I’ve been profiling the candidates. Here are those profiles:

Committee members get four votes each. If I had four I’d give them to Whitaker, Evans, Simmons, and Miller, but you never know what the real voters will do. We’ll have the results up on Sunday evening once the vote is made public.

 

Major League Baseball vs. Minor League Baseball

One thing a lot of people don’t know about the Winter Meetings is that it’s put on, primarily, by Minor League Baseball as an organization and the vast majority of the people on the ground at the Winter Meetings either run or work for or are trying to sell stuff to minor league teams. Almost every team’s owner comes and brings along some staffers. Coaches, trainers, scouts, and other team employees who spend most of their year out in the bushes as opposed to back at the big club’s home base attend meetings and hobnob with one another.

Normally that’s all pretty routine. This year, however, it probably won’t be thanks to Rob Manfred’s plan to contract 42 minor league clubs and rearrange a great many more of them across levels and leagues.

As we noted earlier today, that scheme has set off a political firestorm and is no doubt the top agenda item and point of concern for every single minor league official and employee at the Winter Meetings. There are, reportedly, already meetings going on in San Diego about all of this. Expect some news about it at any point in the next week. At this point I’d expect anything from Manfred totally scrapping the plan, to him doubling down on it, to reports of general acrimony and possible legal action and everything in between.

 

The Boring Business of Baseball 

Outside of the transactions, the Hall of Fame stuff, the managers and the minor league contraction intrigue, we’ll likely have more mundane Winter Meetings business. Most people at the Winter Meetings aren’t there for transactions. They’re there to network, seek jobs and discuss the business of baseball like any other industry convention. Ever year we hear about a rule change or a proposal for future rule changes at the Meetings. There is no single rule change that everyone is talking about at the moment, but something will likely pop up. Sometimes we’re completely surprised with that kind of stuff.

 

The Rule 5 Draft

The final event of the Winter Meetings is the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place at 8am Pacific time on Thursday morning. You likely have no idea who most of the players who will be selected, but by next summer you may very well know some of them who are either picked or who were made available this week. Max Muncy could’ve been had by anyone a couple of years ago, went un-picked and all he’s done is rake like crazy for the team with the most wins in the National League. Given that even the combined minds of 29 front offices didn’t think he was worth a roster spot last year, you’ll be forgiven for not having any idea about the guys in this year’s Rule 5. But, if you want to at least attempt to be prepared for it, here’s a good place to start.

So, yes, there’s a lot to be done. I’ll be on the scene at the Hyatt Manchester in San Diego — and maybe a few other places around town — bringing you all the best hot stove business we have to offer and, as usual, some more fun odds and ends from baseball’s biggest offseason event.