Padres trade Frazier to M's for prospect duo

November 27th, 2021

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres' infield logjam gained a small measure of clarity on Saturday, as San Diego finalized a deal with Seattle, sending second baseman Adam Frazier to the Mariners in exchange for a pair of prospects.

Here are the specifics:

Padres get: LHP Ray Kerr, OF Corey Rosier
Mariners get: 2B/OF

The Padres landed Frazier just before the Trade Deadline last season when they sent a trio of prospects -- right-hander Michell Miliano, outfielder Jack Suwinski and second baseman Tucupita Marcano -- to the Pirates in exchange for Frazier. It was a somewhat curious trade at the time, considering the Padres already had a full infield.

Upon his arrival in San Diego, Frazier mostly struggled, posting a .662 OPS (after notching an .836 mark and an All-Star Game appearance across four months in Pittsburgh). The Padres have a glut of players capable of handling second base, including Jake Cronenworth, Ha-Seong Kim and perhaps eventually top prospect CJ Abrams, who could make his breakthrough in 2022.

Frazier had one year remaining in San Diego before hitting free agency and was due for a raise on his $4.3 million salary in arbitration. Padres general manager A.J. Preller noted that he felt Frazier’s money could be better allocated elsewhere -- particularly with Fernando Tatis Jr. returning to shortstop, pushing Cronenworth back to second.

“He’s a winning-type piece, has good at-bats,” Preller said of Frazier. “This is more about some payroll flexibility and also, from a position standpoint, with Cronenworth [at second] and Tatis coming back into the shortstop spot … it was an area where we had surplus. Ultimately, it gives us a chance to do something else from a dollars standpoint and from a roster standpoint.”

The Padres are primarily in search of pitching this offseason, and perhaps a power bat as well.

In return for Frazier, the Padres landed a pair of prospects they feel have some solid upside. Kerr is much closer to being big league ready, with a huge arm out of the bullpen that often hits 100 mph. A 27-year-old lefty, Kerr spent time in Double-A and Triple-A last season and recorded a 3.18 ERA with 60 strikeouts over 39 2/3 innings. He'll need to cut down on the walks, but the Padres liked the development of his slider as a second pitch.

San Diego entered the offseason looking to reinforce the depth of its bullpen, and Kerr's arrival certainly helps accomplish that goal. He has three years of options remaining, having recently been added to Seattle's 40-man roster.

“He’s a power left-handed arm, and a guy that gives us some real depth and left-handed relief help possibly at the Major League level,” Preller said. “He’ll have a chance to come in and compete, and see if he can help our club out this year.”

As for Rosier, he's more of a long-term play. Drafted last summer in the 12th round out of UNC Greensboro, the 22-year-old left-handed-hitting outfielder hasn't stopped hitting since his arrival in pro ball. He batted .380 with three homers and a 1.022 OPS over 32 games between the Arizona Complex League and Low-A last season. The Padres also like his wheels and his feel for the strike zone.

“A left-handed bat, a plus to double-plus runner, and he has a knack for squaring up the baseball,” Preller said. “He’s getting a lot of hits, getting on base a lot and playing up the middle. That’s very intriguing. Even though it’s just been a few months in pro ball, he made the most out of those few months and put himself on the radar.”

The trade is the first significant deal of the offseason for the Padres, who expect some reshuffling this winter after their disappointing 2021 season.

Second base was Frazier's primary position, but because of his ability to play outfield, the deal might also prompt the Padres to be a bit more aggressive in their search for a corner outfielder. They've already lost Tommy Pham to free agency this winter -- though a reunion remains possible -- and now Frazier.