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Rangers, Frazier agree on 1-year deal (source)

@Sullivan_Ranger
January 12, 2020

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have reached an agreement with free-agent third baseman Todd Frazier on a one-year contract, sources confirmed Sunday afternoon, opening up the possibility the club will increase the pursuit of free-agent slugger Nicholas Castellanos. The team has not confirmed the deal because it is pending a physical.

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have reached an agreement with free-agent third baseman Todd Frazier on a one-year contract, sources confirmed Sunday afternoon, opening up the possibility the club will increase the pursuit of free-agent slugger Nicholas Castellanos.

The team has not confirmed the deal because it is pending a physical. Frazier will get $5 million guaranteed from the Rangers. He’ll get $3.5 million in 2020, with a $5.75 million club option for 2021 (or a $1.5 million buyout).

Even after bringing Frazier to Texas, the Rangers will continue their efforts to trade for Rockies star third baseman Nolan Arenado, sources told MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi. They are not viewed as the favorites to land Arenado, sources said, but Rangers C/1B prospect Sam Huff is one name that could intrigue Colorado in talks with Texas.

The Rangers could turn to Castellanos, a right-handed power bat who would be used at first base. Texas has discussed the possibility of adding both Frazier and Castellanos to give the lineup some balance.

Frazier is a nine-year veteran and a two-time All-Star third baseman with the Reds in 2014-15. He spent last season with the Mets and hit .251 with 21 home runs and 67 RBIs in 133 games. He had a .329 on-base percentage and a .443 slugging percentage.

He gives the Rangers a solid right-handed threat against left-handed pitching. Frazier hit .294 with a .373 on-base percentage and a .540 slugging percentage against lefties last season, while he hit .234/.311/.405 against right-handers.

Frazier has started 910 games at third base over the past seven seasons, the fourth most in the Major Leagues in that stretch. He has been rated as a solid defensive player who can also play first if needed.

The signing allows both Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Nick Solak to compete for a spot as a utility player off the bench. With Major League Baseball going to 26-man rosters this season, both have a realistic shot at this point to make the team.

Frazier gives the Rangers a proven veteran at a position of need for them. The Rangers did not have an experienced third baseman on their 40-man roster, but they have three excellent prospects at the position in Josh Jung, Davis Wendzel and Sherten Apostel. All three are at least two-to-three years away from being Major League ready.

Jung and Wendzel were the Rangers’ top two picks in last year’s MLB Draft after being named the co-Big 12 Player of the Year at Texas Tech and Baylor respectively. Apostel was acquired from the Pirates on July 31, 2018 in a trade for pitcher Keone Kela.

Castellanos has played both third base and the outfield in his professional career, though third base is not considered an option for him with the Rangers. He has been used almost exclusively in right field for the past two seasons and hasn’t played third base since 2017.

Castellanos has never played first base as a professional, but the Rangers are intrigued by the idea that he can handle the position and give their lineup another big boost from the right side. Over the past three seasons, Castellanos is hitting .347 against left-handed pitchers, the fifth best in the Majors among players with a minimum of 310 plate appearances. His .620 slugging percentage is the seventh best.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.