All-Star 2B/OF Frazier traded to San Diego

July 26th, 2021

A.J. Preller's second straight Trade Deadline as a buyer has begun. Considering the way the week just started, the Padres’ GM might be set for another binge before this year's Deadline on Friday.

The Padres landed second baseman/outfielder in a deal with the Pirates for three prospects, making the move official on Monday.

"My whole life, all I've done is win, until I got to the big leagues," Frazier said as the Padres introduced him on Monday. "So to be able to do that again, be in a playoff push, I couldn't be more excited about it. That's what we live for."

San Diego is sending infielder , ranked by MLB Pipeline as the team's No. 5 prospect, along with right-hander Michell Miliano and outfielder Jack Suwinski to Pittsburgh in exchange for Frazier and cash. The Pirates will cover the bulk of Frazier's salary this season, and he is under team contractual control through 2022.

SD gets: INF/OF Adam Frazier, cash
PIT gets: INF/OF Tucupita Marcano, RHP Michell Miliano, OF Jack Suwinski

Preller said the Padres have had their eye on Frazier for the last couple of years and through this past offseason.

"He's a winning offensive player, he's a really tough out, he's a quality defender so he has two-way value as well, and we see some versatility also," Preller said. "The biggest thing is, as we go down the stretch and hopefully into October, we want to play guys who we feel like are winning-type at-bats. Winning-type players. He checks a lot of boxes for us."

Frazier, 29, has been one of the league's better hitters this season, having posted a .324/.388/.448 slash line with a Major League-leading 125 hits in 98 games. He is only the third player in the modern era to be traded midseason while leading the Majors in hits. Willie McGee went from the Cardinals to the A’s in 1990, and Red Schoendienst went from the Giants to the Braves in ‘57.

He's also well aware that the gold standard for his style of hitting is a Padres icon -- Tony Gwynn.

"If I'd have grown up on the West Coast he probably would've been my idol," Frazier said of Gwynn. "That kind of approach -- hit the ball to all fields, make hard contact and don't strike out -- that's exactly what I'm trying to do."

Frazier is in his sixth season in the big leagues, which were all with Pittsburgh, and is fresh off his first appearance in an All-Star Game -- a start at second base alongside Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.

Frazier’s fit will be a curious one, but team officials indicated that his bat will simply make the Padres better. It’s unclear who will give way in the starting lineup, but right fielder and first baseman have been streaky this season, and both have underperformed their 2020 numbers significantly. Frazier could replace Myers in right or play second, with All-Star reserve sliding over to first. Perhaps something of a Myers/Hosmer platoon could emerge.

Preller said the team has begun to have internal discussions about Frazier's fit and sees him playing both at second base and in the corner outfield, at least to start out.

"Ultimately, who's in the lineup, we're kind of subscribing to the fact that we feel like [the Frazier trade] fits for our team," Preller said. "We want to get another quality offensive player and defensive player on our club, and we'll sort through what that means from a playing-time standpoint over the course of the next few weeks and months."

Frazier said he's comfortable both in the outfield and at second base, and while he hasn't talked in-depth about it yet with the team's front office or coaching staff, he's expecting to be used in a flexible role.

"I'm assuming I'm gonna bounce around, because I guess I can do that. Being on a team like this, wherever I can help the team win is where I'm gonna be," Frazier said. "I'm ready to do that. When the trade happened, I was assuming I'm gonna bounce around everywhere. So I'll be ready."

Here's one version of what the Padres’ lineup could look like, with the left-handed-hitting Frazier added to the mix:

  1. Trent Grisham, CF
  2. Fernando Tatis Jr., SS
  3. Adam Frazier, 2B
  4. Manny Machado, 3B
  5. Tommy Pham, LF
  6. Jake Cronenworth, 1B
  7. Wil Myers, RF
  8. Austin Nola, C
  9. Starting pitcher

There are, of course, still a few days before the Deadline, so things could change. But Frazier’s arrival gives the Padres an incredibly deep group of hitters. The bench already features and , who has been heating up lately. Now, theoretically, it adds a bat like Myers or Hosmer.

Frazier is the type of bat (and glove) that made it worth giving up a prospect like Marcano, who made his MLB debut this season and now slots in as the Pirates' new No. 7 prospect.

"We like the players we dealt a lot," Preller said. "We like a guy like Tucupita Marcano that we've seen here in San Diego for a little bit ... He was a guy that we held out of a lot of other discussions. I think having Adam for this year and next year factored in a little bit as well there, in order to put Tucu in that deal."

According to sources, the Padres still are actively scouring the trade market in search of pitching -- both starting and relief help. This comes after a frenzy last season that saw San Diego make six trades totaling 26 players in the three days leading up to Trade Deadline. Preller has until Friday, and it should surprise no one if there’s more to come.

"It's just as important to pitch better," Preller said. "From our standpoint, we have a lot of confidence in the guys that are on the roster. We'll obviously be listening and open to what's out there over the next four to five days, and it's gotta make sense."

As far as the offense, the Padres could always try to add more of that, too. But they don't feel as pressing a need to do so after bringing Frazier to Slam Diego.

"We didn't make this deal with another deal in our pocket that we were gonna make," Preller said. "I think we made this deal acknowledging that there's probably a pretty good chance that this is our group going forward from an offensive standpoint, and we like it.

"But it's Trade Deadline week, it's the last four days before the Deadline. We'll be open to hearing what other teams present. We have some flexibility and some options, and that's always a good position to be in. I don't think there's anything we need to force within the next couple of days."