Todd Frazier signed a two year, $17 million deal with New York. This was a headline many of us were expecting to read at some point this offseason. Last night, it came to fruition but it wasn’t the New York team most had expected. The New York Mets swooped in and signed the veteran third baseman to a contract. Personally, I felt the Mets were the perfect spot for "The ToddFather" if a return to the Yankees wasn’t in the cards. I just always figured the two sides would meet at a middle ground and reunite for the 2018 season.
I’m not stunned Frazier signed with the Mets, I’m stunned at the contract he received. We all know the Yankees desire to get under the $197 million luxury tax threshold, so any free agent signing would have to be cost effective. That being said, the Yankees have two holes in their infield at second and third base. The prevailing thought is they will be filled by rookies Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar, respectively. There’s also a chance that Tyler Wade or Ronald Torreyes fill one or both spots. No matter how you slice it, a need for a veteran infielder is glaring and who better than Todd Frazier?
Frazier’s stats aren’t eye popping but they are better than people think. He hit .222 with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs in 66 games as a Yankee. He struck out 54 times but his OBP was .365. Frazier is an all or nothing guy. He hits home runs, he walks, but he strikes out. Having a guy that hit 27 total home runs in 2017 bat 8th would create a relentless lineup most teams wouldn’t be able to stop. However, we all know the numbers weren’t how Todd Frazier endeared himself to Yankees fans.
Todd Frazier came over from the White Sox after the midseason trade and instantly fit in with the Yankees. He became a “clubhouse guy”. The now famous “Thumbs Down” became the rallying cry of the Yankees as they battled to Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. You have to be productive on the field as well or all the hand gestures in the world wouldn’t be worth a hill of beans to the team or the fans. As the Yankees fought to lock up their Wild Card spot and fought deep into October, there was one man that seemed to be in the middle of every rally, Todd Frazier. A single, a walk, being the first one out of the dugout after a big run scored. No matter the scenario, it seemed as if Frazier was there, and now he’s over there, in Queens.
Frazier didn’t sign for some astronomical number. He’s making $8 million in 2018. That’s a number many people figured would have landed Frazier back in the Bronx. Are the Yankees that set on not spending money in free agency? Was it the second year that Frazier got from the Mets that scared the Yankees away? We all know about the looming specter of Manny Machado next off season, so did the Yankees not want a third baseman signed in 2019 because of that? Even at $9 million in 2019, Frazier would be a tradable commodity and worth the insurance of having a veteran infielder that fits your team like a glove in 2018. Do the Yankees know something about Miguel Andujar that we don’t? Is his glove now Major League ready? That was the big knock on Andujar last season. What if in June, Miguel Andujar has shown he isn’t a MLB ready third baseman? Then what? Where do the Yankees go? Trade more prospects for a stopgap? That’s not exactly a prudent business move when you had the perfect stopgap in Frazier slip through your fingers.
Whatever the reason is, Todd Frazier took his talents and his thumbs to Queens. Let’s not fool ourselves, Todd Frazier isn’t a difference maker. The Yankees are still one of the top 3 teams in the American League without him, the exact same spot they’d be in with him. But, Todd Frazier is energy. Todd Frazier is heart. Todd Frazier is a steady glove. Todd Frazier is an on base machine. Todd Frazier is a home run hitter. Most importantly, from a Yankees perspective, Todd Frazier would’ve been insurance from starting two rookies in the infield. Now, Todd Frazier is a Met.
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