NEW YORK -- About two weeks ago, Todd Frazier was putting his son, Blake, to bed, when apropos of nothing, the three-year-old announced his decision to become a Mets fan. Midway through a career that has taken him from the Reds to the White Sox to the Yankees, the elder Frazier had spoken to the Mets at that point in the offseason, but certainly did not know he would sign with them.
Shortly thereafter, Frazier and his wife asked Blake what colors he wanted for the theme of his upcoming birthday party. Blue and orange, Blake responded.
"I'm like, 'Where is this coming from?'" Frazier recalled, laughing.
Frazier could not know that Blake's whims would turn out to be premonitions. Frazier and the Mets finalized their two-year, $17 million contract on Wednesday, less than a week before the start of Spring Training. The deal allows Frazier, a New Jersey native, to remain in the tri-state area while attempting to guide the Mets back to the postseason.
"I can't tell you how happy I am to be playing for the Mets," Frazier said. "This is my home. I belong in New York."
Entering the offseason as a free agent for the first time in his career, Frazier had no shortage of suitors, including a Yankees team that traded for him as a rental last summer. But like many in a historically slow market, Frazier remained unemployed into late January. Things did not grow serious with the Mets until last weekend. When they did, Frazier's camp struck.
"He wanted to, in a perfect world, be able to stay in New York," said Frazier's lead agent, Brodie Van Wagenen of CAA. "He loved playing in Cincinnati. He loved playing in Chicago. And then when he got to New York, the bright lights and the big city reminded him of how special it is to play in front of your hometown. It was a driving force, no question about it."
Before committing to Frazier, both general manager Sandy Alderson and chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon reached out to David Wright, who has been the Mets' starting third baseman -- if in name only -- since 2004. Wright, who is rehabbing from back and shoulder surgeries and has yet to begin baseball activities, signed off on the deal. More than that, he welcomed Frazier via text.
Like most, Wright realizes that Frazier can make the Mets better. Hitting .213 with 27 home runs in 147 games last year, Frazier has hit 131 homers with a .786 OPS over the past four seasons. Since 2013, Frazier has averaged 154 games per year, offering the Mets the type of stability they have lacked at third base since Wright began experiencing career-altering back issues in '15.
The downside to Frazier's game is his .243 batting average over the past four years, with one strikeout every 4.6 plate appearances. But even if Frazier gives the Mets nothing more than power at the plate, his defense and durability are two things that team officials craved.
"What we liked about Todd was that we felt he could nail down a position that's been problematic for us for a couple of years," Alderson said. "That was probably as important as anything."
A native of Point Pleasant, N.J., Frazier experienced a homecoming of sorts when the White Sox traded him to the Yankees last July, often speaking fondly of the opportunity to play in front of his local fans. Alderson called him "a big personality from Jersey," offering expectations that Frazier can become a clubhouse leader in a new borough.
"We're very happy that Todd is with us," Alderson said. "We're looking forward to that presence."