The Pirates have added a veteran presence to their infield mix at Spring Training, extending a non-roster invite to infielder Todd Frazier, the club announced Saturday. News of Frazier's deal was first reported Friday.
If Frazier makes the Major League roster, his deal will be worth $1.5 million, according to a source. The club has not commented on the value of the deal.
“I had a conversation with him the other night before he decided, and just kind of talked through what our opportunity was,” manager Derek Shelton said. “I think he’s a nice addition to our group.”
Frazier, 35, has played 10 seasons in MLB, including five years in the National League Central with the Reds to begin his career.
Frazier split last season between the Rangers and the Mets, recording a .684 OPS in 45 games. He saw all 14 of his 2020 starts in New York at third base, but it’s highly unlikely he’ll see much time there ahead of Ke’Bryan Hayes, who is seen as a key part of the core the Pirates are building around.
Frazier, a righty hitter, has a better chance of platooning at first base with the left-handed-hitting Colin Moran or coming off the bench as a pinch-hitting option. Off the bench for his career, Frazier has posted a strong .882 OPS.
“I think a right-handed bat with the ability to drive the ball was important for us and something we wanted to key on,” Shelton said.
In his career, Frazier has batted .242/.319/.448 with 218 homers across 1,231 games. As recently as 2019, he reached the 20-homer mark in a season, a feat which he’s accomplished five times. He’s also recorded an .830 OPS with nine doubles, two triples and eight homers in 39 career games at PNC Park.
Shelton said Frazier should add a trustworthy veteran voice to the clubhouse for a roster that is very young. Frazier is the oldest player in camp by four years over Jacob Stallings and Tyler Anderson.
“I think there are conversations that have to be had in a group -- in a peer group [rather] than a coaching group” Shelton said. “It’s not that guys aren’t going to listen, but when you’re having a conversation amongst your peers, it definitely adds value.”
Frazier’s addition won’t mean Moran will only see work in practice at first base, though, as Shelton said he values Moran taking grounders at third base to get his feet moving.