Pirates get 3 prospects, send Frazier to SD

July 26th, 2021

The Pirates traded All-Star second baseman and cash to the Padres in exchange for three prospects: infielder/outfielder , right-hander Michell Miliano and outfielder Jack Suwinski, the team announced on Monday.

A source told MLB.com that Pittsburgh is sending $1.4 million to San Diego.

SD gets: INF/OF Adam Frazier, cash

PIT gets: INF/OF Tucupita Marcano, RHP Michell Miliano, OF Jack Suwinski

Frazier, 29, has hit .324 in 98 games with the Pirates this season, leading the Majors with 125 hits to help him earn All-Star honors for the first time in his six-year career. He was pulled from Pittsburgh's 6-1 loss in the series finale against the Giants on Sunday in the bottom of the eighth inning, right as the first report of the deal went out. Manager Derek Shelton did not discuss the trade directly after the game, citing that it had yet to be made official, but praised Frazier's demeanor amid rumors of a deal.

"Any time you’re involved in discussions like that, you can lose your focus. The one thing that we’ve never seen Adam Frazier do in the two years that I’ve been here is lose his focus," Shelton said. "He continues to go out day in and day out, give us consistent at-bats, play Gold Glove caliber second base."

“Good job by our scouting department, our development department and obviously Adam to turn himself into a really good Major League player,” general manager Ben Cherington said. “He did a really good job for the Pirates. We wish him the very best in San Diego.”

In the return, MLB Pipeline ranked Marcano as the Pirates' No. 7 prospect, while Miliano and Suwinski were not in the club's top 30 prospects. Cherington said Marcano will report to Triple-A, Suwinski will be assigned to Double-A and Miliano will head to High-A.

The top prize in the haul headed to Pittsburgh is Marcano, a 21-year-old infield prospect who is on the border of being Major League-ready. The Venezuelan left-handed hitter has already seen MLB action, but he struggled in 44 at-bats with the Padres this season, hitting .182 with a double.

However, Marcano’s Triple-A season has been strong, as he has hit .272/.367/.444 with seven doubles, two triples and six home runs in 44 games with El Paso. Marcano is lauded for his all-around game, which includes above-average speed that allowed him to swipe double-digit bases from 2017-19.

Cherington first saw Marcano when he was part of the Blue Jays’ front office, scouting some players in the Northwest League. Marcano has been one of the youngest players at each step of the ladder, which speaks to his advanced approach. However, the one area in which Marcano can grow is his power; Cherington said he’s seen signs of improvement this season, but power projections were not a big part of the equation.

“We’re not acquiring him for that, for the hope of that,” Cherington said. “We think what he is now [is] a pretty well-rounded skill set and just a good, smart baseball player, and he’s someone we’re excited to bring in and keep working with."

Miliano, a 21-year-old right-handed reliever out of the Dominican Republic, has seen a sharp spike in his strikeouts per nine innings pitched over the past two seasons. This year, across Low-A and High-A, he has produced a 17.7 K/9 IP rate while recording a 3.60 ERA in 22 games, but he has struggled with command.

“We’ll work with him on the control going forward and continue trying to reduce those walks,” Cherington said. “But the stuff’s there. He strikes out a ton of guys, so we’ll get him into our system, get him to Greensboro and get him going from there.”

Suwinski, a 15th-round selection in the 2016 Draft, has played at Frazier’s second home in left field, and he’s broken out at Double-A San Antonio this season. The 22-year-old has a .949 OPS in 66 games, fueled by 15 home runs in that span.

“He was a guy that San Diego took a little bit later in the Draft, but invested in,” Cherington said. “It appeared to us this year -- and maybe through the pandemic, doing some work -- he had maybe broken out this year in Double-A. Really strong reports on the makeup and work ethic.”

The cash sent in addition to Frazier likely sweetened the deal and allowed the Pirates to ask for higher-end talent. The amount will help pay out the rest of Frazier’s salary owed this season.

“It stinks for us,” Pirates catcher Jacob Stallings said. “He’s obviously set the tone at the top of our lineup all year, and just had an amazing, amazing year. He’s been a teammate of mine ... since 2014. He’s somebody I work out with in the offseason. So it’s mixed emotions, but the overwhelming emotion is just [that I’m] happy for him.”

Cherington said the Pirates already had enhanced insight into the Padres’ system through the Joe Musgrove discussions last offseason, which ended in a three-team deal. But even with that background, the big question once the Frazier trade broke was why now? Why not wait until closer to Friday’s 4 p.m. ET Deadline?

“We felt as of [Sunday] that we had all of the information that we were going to have on the teams that were interested in Adam to be able to make an assessment of what the offers were going to be,” Cherington said. “Didn't feel like that was going to change much over the next several days, and so we decided to act on it.”