Indians inquiring about Frazier at Meetings
Reds All-Star would be power-hitting bat at third base for Tribe
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Indians could use more power in their lineup and would probably prefer to add pop via a right-handed batter. Looking around the diamond, third base is a position at which the club could potentially acquire an upgrade to fit that need.
That all adds up to Reds third baseman Todd Frazier making sense as a possible target, and Cleveland and Cincinnati have indeed discussed him at the Winter Meetings, according to reports that swirled through the Opryland Hotel on Wednesday. MLB.com's Mark Sheldon reported, however, that the teams do not appear to be a match at the moment.
As things stand, the Indians have Giovanny Urshela at third base, where he displayed above-average defense last year. What the club is not certain about right now is what kind of hitter Urshela will be in the Major Leagues, because he struggled offensively in his rookie season while battling an assortment of health issues.
"We saw him defensively make all the plays and then some," manager Terry Francona said. "But, we also saw how hard it was for him to get the ball to first [due to a late-season shoulder injury]. We saw it and we talked about it. And I think offensively, we knew he probably wasn't quite ready anyway. But then he had so many [injuries]. When he comes to Spring Training next year, is it going to be different? I don't know. We'll see."
Frazier, who will turn 30 in February, is under contract for $7.5 million in 2016 and then will be arbitration-eligible prior to the '17 season. Last year, Frazier made the National League All-Star team, won the Gillette Home Run Derby and ended the season with 35 homers, 43 doubles and 89 RBIs in 157 games for Cincinnati.
The bulk of Frazier's offensive success last season came in the first half, though. He stormed out of the gates, hitting .284 with 25 homers, 57 RBIs and a .922 OPS in 374 plate appearances before the All-Star break, but then hit .220 with 10 homers, 32 RBIs and a .664 OPS in 304 plate appearances in the second half.