Todd-da! White Sox pull 3B out of 'Hat' Stove
Montas among prospects headed to Dodgers; Reds get Peraza, 2 others for Frazier
The White Sox acquired third baseman Todd Frazier from the Reds on Wednesday in a three-team trade involving the Dodgers.
As part of the deal, the White Sox sent second baseman Micah Johnson, outfielder Trayce Thompson and right-handed pitcher Frankie Montas to Los Angeles. The Reds received infielders Brandon Dixon and Jose Peraza and outfielder Scott Schebler from the Dodgers.
Frazier, who turns 30 in February, knew he was out there on the trade market since the season ended, with Cincinnati going into a rebuild mode. He found out the news Wednesday morning when Reds president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty called.
"I'm pretty excited, I've got to be truthful with you," said Frazier. "I know it's the American League, I know it's going to be a little different.
"It might take a little time to get acclimated, but I just saw the lineup on TV, and it kind of put a smile on my face to see the guys we've got. It's going to be a fun time. I really can't wait to see what we're all about and how we come together as a team in Spring Training."
From Reds to White Sox
3B Todd Frazier
From Dodgers to Reds
2B Jose Peraza (No. 1 on Reds' Top 30)
OF Scott Schebler (No. 13 on Reds' Top 30)
2B Brandon Dixon
From White Sox to Dodgers
RHP Frankie Montas (No. 4 on Dodgers' Top 30)
2B Micah Johnson (No. 8 on Dodgers' Top 30)
OF Trayce Thompson (No. 16 on Dodgers' Top 30)
Acquiring Frazier strengthens the White Sox infield as well as adding an important power component to the South Siders' lineup. Frazier has 108 home runs in parts of five seasons with the Reds, including a career-high 35 in 2015 to go with his career-high 89 RBIs.
There were four third basemen targeted by the White Sox entering last week's Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn. With the acquisition of Brett Lawrie from the A's and now Frazier, the White Sox obtained two of those targets.
Jocketty said on his own conference call Wednesday that the Reds received heavy interest in Frazier going back to the Winter Meetings. He also said they considered trading Frazier for the talent package the White Sox gave up, but preferred what they received from the Dodgers.
"This was very difficult to do," Jocketty said. "It was a difficult phone call to make, but as we move forward, what we set out to do here is to try and get this team back into contention as quickly as we can. We felt this was part of the process to get to that point."
"We are thrilled to be able to add a player the caliber of Todd Frazier," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "We feel that he addresses a spot that has been rather difficult to fill for an extended period of time at third base. We view him as one of the finer third basemen in the game, from an offensive and defensive standpoint."
Lawrie will move to second base, with Carlos Sanchez most likely serving in the utility role. Tyler Saladino presently appears to be set at shortstop, a move the White Sox feel comfortable with defensively, and adding the offense of Frazier takes more of the burden with the bat off of Saladino.
A move involving Frazier was discussed between the White Sox and Reds at the Winter Meetings. But at that point, the asking price of top prospect Tim Anderson was too much for Chicago. The team has two years of control over Frazier, who is owed $7.5 million this season as part of a two-year, $12 million deal and will be arbitration-eligible next season.
Johnson, who turns 25 on Friday, opened the 2015 season as the White Sox starting second baseman. Speed stands as his top weapon, having swiped 84 bases at the Minor League level in 2013. The addition of Frazier and Lawrie, though, took away significant playing time.
Montas, 22, was acquired in a 2013 three-team deal that sent Jake Peavy to the Red Sox. The hard-throwing right-hander, who has hit 100 mph on the radar gun, was used as a starter and in relief last season. He joins J.B. Wendelken as the second pitcher from that Peavy trade to be traded away by the White Sox in the past week.
Thompson, 24, broke loose at the end of last season after being called up to Chicago by hitting .295 in 122 at-bats with eight doubles, three triples, five home runs, 16 RBIs and 17 runs scored. He also was considered the top defensive outfielder for the organization. The White Sox had talked at the Winter Meetings about giving Thompson a chance in center field during Spring Training.
"While we are thrilled to get Todd, it does sting a little bit to give up the three players we had to give up to get it done," Hahn said. "That may be the hallmark of a fair trade, which in the end, you are trying to do."
With a focus on improving a poor offense from 2015, the White Sox might not be done with their offseason makeover. They could have to get creative, though, as in a back-loaded sort of deal, to add a frontline free agent such as Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton or Alex Gordon.
Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)
With 64 homers, 169 RBIs and 170 runs scored across the past two seasons, Frazier has established himself as a top-5 mixed-league third baseman. True, the 29-year-old may miss hitting at Great American Ball Park, where he has posted an .878 OPS since the outset of 2014 (.725 OPS on the road). But U.S. Cellular Field is also an offense-inducing venue, and Frazier should form a potent duo with Jose Abreu.