Adam Frazier showed White Sox what they could use

Jun 22, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Adam Frazier (26) circles the bases on a solo home run against the Chicago White Sox during the third inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Unlike the situation with Eduardo Escobar, where a reporter who is often relays what the White Sox are thinking and doing specifically connected the player to the team, there is no such grist with the Adam Frazier rumor mill. His name merely surfaced when Nick Madrigal tore his hamstring because he’s pretty much everything the White Sox could use from one player …

  • Plays second base and outfield corners
  • Contact-oriented bat with some pop
  • Left-handed hitter with strong career performance against righties

… on a team that has everything lined up to trade him at his peak.

  • Last-place team trying to rebuild
  • Player enters final year of arbitration at age 30 after season

As Mike Petriello put it:

The only problem: Frazier is playing a little too well, and the Sox didn’t do anything to suppress his value this week. Frazier raised his line to .324/.390/.463 after the two-game series in Pittsburgh. He leads the National League in hits (91) and doubles (24), which offsets his modest home-run contributions (three). Throw in an enviable closeness between his walk (26) and strikeout (35) columns, and Frazier is on pace for a 5-WAR season.

He’s on pace for a career year, but it’s not completely out of nowhere. The gains are coming entirely from his hit tool — or, if you’re skeptical, his .361 BABIP. Statcast puts him in the fifth percentile for average exit velocity and hard-hit rate, although his 98th-percentile whiff rate generates its own luck. His ground-ball rate is at a career low, while his line-drive rate is nearly 30 percent. Balance it out, and Statcast gives him an expected batting average of .290, which is legit.

Frazier did what he could to show sustainable skills to the White Sox. He went 3-for-8 with a homer, double and walk. The homer came on the 10th pitch of a battle with Lucas Giolito, one of 25 pitches he coaxed out of the White Sox’s righty Tuesday night.

He came back the next day and went 2-for-5 with a single against Dylan Cease and that double against Codi Heuer. He also had a couple of good swings on Aaron Bummer and Liam Hendriks during the series, including a line drive on Hendriks’ high fastball. Luis González tracked it down for the game’s penultimate out.

From a sample size of two whole games, it’s tempting to take his short, quick left-handed swing that can turn around and life velocity and project a number of cheap homers into the Kraft Kave at Guaranteed Rate Field. He’s also the kind of player who would actually add to the top half of any White Sox batting order after plugging him into second base, whereas an Escobar-like addition adds more power, but doesn’t lengthen a lineup.

PERTINENT: Eduardo Escobar checks some boxes … if he’s healthy

Frazier would also give the White Sox a head start in solving an outfield position whenever Madrigal is ready to return, and serves as insurance in case that recovery isn’t smooth. If it turns out by some small miracle that the Sox don’t need Frazier’s specific skill set, they could turn around and trade him again, kinda like the Oakland A’s won out in the long run by trading Addison Russell for Jeff Samardzija, then flipping Shark to Chicago for Marcus Semien and Chris Bassitt.

The question comes down to cost. If the Sox could package up a couple of prep/teen players for Frazier’s services, they might already have him. If Pittsburgh wants somebody closer to contributing to a 26-man roster, the Sox don’t really have that quintessential MLB-ready talent. Thanks to the injuries, everybody who could theoretically help the White Sox has already tried their hand at it this year.

That’s what makes Jake Burger‘s recent breakout so intriguing. There’s the fact that he’s a terrific comeback story and seems like a guy worth rooting for, but if he somehow looks no worse for the wear after missing three years and shows some capability of filling in at a few positions around the diamond, he might be the equivalent of found money to a team whose 26-man roster still renders him redundant.

PERTINENT: An in-person look at Jake Burger’s big night

It feels a little too soon to say, but it’s probably also a little too soon to think about acquiring Frazier, whose ability to cover multiple positions while hitting at an All-Star level should make a few teams come calling. As long as the White Sox don’t have to act now on either front, both situations should be fun to watch play out.

Here’s your Adam Frazier “House Hunters”-assed scorecard:

(Photo by Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)

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35 Comments
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Sophist

Is Tim Beckham a real thing? I would love to see Frazier acquired, but just thinking bullpen help may be a bigger need. An in-house option at second would help.

joewho112

I think the best case scenario for Beckham is that he is just a guy a 2nd. He provides a floor for output but no upside. Frazier is upside.

Trooper Galactus

The upside for Beckham is pretty much an average-ish bat with a heavy reliance on home run power to prop up poor on-base skills. Otherwise, he’s not a particularly skilled defender nor does he possess plus speed.

joewho112

In other words, just a guy

Trooper Galactus

A guy with one very specific plus skill, one which the White Sox are technically deficient in. Yes, the upside, if his best season is any indication, is about a league average player overall, but he does bring to the table what we’ve been lacking (admittedly at the expense of pretty much everything else).

joewho112

That’s how “just a guys” are. They have one or two skills that are enough above average to almost make up for the general suck of their other skills.

As Cirensica

We have Kopech who will eventually come back. That’s your bullpen help. Also I am glady impressed with Burr at the moment. Jace Fry is also out there.

soxygen

Tim Beckham’s spice girls nickname would be “AAAA Spice”

As Cirensica

He fits way too well. I wouldn’t be unhappy if the cost is centered in a guy like Burger or Sheets (or even both)

joewho112

Who else is in the market for Frazier? Cubs, A’s, Red Sox, Cleveland? Anyone else?

knoxfire30

Every contender could justify trying to make a move for him. The sox could of easily used him before Eaton and Madrigal got hurt.

The price may get uncomfortable for a sox team with little minor league depth. Frazier does come with the bonus of a year more control which in theory would solve RF for 2022 squad.

roke1960

Great article, Jim. Frazier can’t cost that much, since he is a free agent after 2022. I would give up Kelley and Stiever for him. He solves so many of the White Sox problems right now, that a little overpay would be needed to get him now. I don’t want them to wait another month. Danny Mendick is becoming unplayable at 2nd, both offensively and defensively.

Trooper Galactus

Kinda sad how quickly Stiever went from a potential centerpiece in a trade to basically a throw-in. That 2019 breakout is looking more and more like an illusion.

Milky✌️

What a bummer for Burger if after he put in all this work to come back, then just gets shipped off to Pittsburgh.

joewho112

They have more playoff appearances over the past 10 years than the White Sox

mikeyb

Pittsburgh seems like a dream destination for Burger. They won’t be good for a few years at least. He would get every chance to perform at the MLB level.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I think Burger would probably be thrilled if that happened. Right now he’s looking at Moncada, Abreu and Vaughn firmly blocking him in Chicago.

dwjm3

I’m not sure they would want him with Hayes.

phillyd

Just a crazy thought, but what if Madrigal was the return for Frazier+. What would the plus have to be to make that worthwhile?

Right Size Wrong Shape

I just logged in to make the same comment. I don’t know if the Pirates are interested in someone whose service time has already started but it makes sense for the Sox who are trying to win now. They get their second baseman for this season and next, and by then maybe someone like Jose Rodriguez is on the radar.

Last edited 2 years ago by Right Size Wrong Shape
As Cirensica

I think Madrigal will be too steep of a price. It seems Madrigal can become a 4 WAR player on a regular basis and has plenty years at cheap cost

dwjm3

He said “Frazier +”

Meaning he wants multiple players from Pittsburgh.

As Cirensica

Ohhhh Interesting. I don’t think it is happening though

joewho112

Doesn’t seem like the type of guy the Pirates would be interested in unless they are going to turnaround and trade him again. He has 2 years of service time, right? So they have to start paying him arbitration after next year and would need to compete in the next 4 years to make it worth their while.

roke1960

If recent trades are any indication, the Pirates are after 19-20 year olds with very high potential. Jared Kelley would almost certainly have to be included in any trade with them. Madrigal would not be of much use to them. I doubt that they would have any interest in anyone whose clock has started already.

Trooper Galactus

And the problem is that most other teams who are interested in Frazier could probably do better than Kelley given his struggles to date in A ball.

knoxfire30

What if they kicked in Colin Moran, he has good splits vs righties, provides the option of 3rd/1b defensively …. he has a year or two of arbitration left so he wont cost much ….I think if Eloy cant make it back to fill DH he would help there as well especially vs RH pitching.

783 career ops vs righties, 812 ops this year vs them….

Last edited 2 years ago by knoxfire30
dwjm3

I’m not sure I would say he “plays the corners”. He hasn’t made an appearance in right field since 2018.

Josh Nelson

With how 2021 is going, does it matter with the White Sox if someone has previous playing experience at a position?

joewho112

How is his arm?

dwjm3

I was thinking more in terms of whether he would be solution for right field in 2022.

I wasn’t sure if he has a big enough arm for right field, but then again maybe teams don’t care as much about that anymore. He certainly is a quality player.

NorthSideSouthSider

Over the course of the 2021 off-season, I feel like they can figure out which one of Frazier or Vaughn can cover right field. For the 2021 season, Frazier will mostly be playing 2nd.

soxygen

Here’s an interesting question to ponder: would you be happy if the Sox acquired Adam Frazier and made no other acquisitions?

I can imagine a scenario in which Frazier, a healthy Eloy, and a fully healthy Hamilton or Engel is enough to get the team to 90 wins. But it’s hard to imagine the team + Frazier getting there with Eloy, Hamilton, & Engel injured and Leury hurting.

East Side Pride

Again with this ¿ Prep/teen players ¿ The cost will be much higher for an all star hitting around .330. Pirates know that too, they need a pitcher & a 2nd baseman to cover. Something like Cease & mendick for an all star. Kopech moves up to 5th starter & Sox can’t keep adding to roster (mendick)

If the Pirates aren’t going to be competing this year or next year, why would they want Cease and Mendick (why would anyone want Mendick). They will want prospects who will start to emerge when the team will start to emerge. What good would it do them to get Cease? He’d be the ace of a bad team for 3 years, and then they’d lose him when they started to get good.