The hot stove is starting to heat up as the weather outside gets colder. The Reds have reportedly been shopping Brandon Phillips, and basically confirmed that they are shopping Aroldis Chapman. The Reds shopping both of those players doesn’t come as much of a surprise. However on Monday afternoon, there was a report that was the first big surprise of the Reds off-season.

You might be thinking about Walt Jocketty’s comments last week that they were willing to listen to offers on any player, and wondering why the Reds shopping Frazier would be considered a surprise. The reason it surprised me is that just over four months ago Walt Jocketty said “No, I wouldn’t trade him (Frazier).” What could have possibly made the Reds go from absolutely not trading him four months ago to now listening  to offers?

This is the part where I say that I told you so. I wrote an article on June 19th that “The Reds should trade Todd Frazier.” I received some “constructive criticism” from a Reds group for the article (here are the comments, viewer discretion advised for strong language). Okay, so back the real problem. What made the Reds front office declare Todd Frazier off-limits on July 2nd (Reds were 15.0 games back in the NL Central), but makes him available now?

My first guess is that the Reds front office just now got the green light to trade Frazier. Reds owner Bob Castellini wanted every aspect of the All-Star Game to go perfect. That in my estimation included not blowing up the team around the big game.

I am hesitant to throw all the blame on Walt Jocketty, especially after some of the really great trades he has made since last winter. However, it is certainly possible that Walt got too attached to the Reds all-star, just like many fans did after his incredible start.

The Reds waiting to trade Frazier will likely cost the Reds. I predicted back in June that Frazier would come back down to earth quickly. Sure, most GM’s have some sort of prediction model that would show Frazier is not really one of the five best hitters in baseball (Frazier was 4th in OPS and wRC+ in mid-June). But with that said, Frazier’s value still has to have significantly declined. Early projections for 2016 from Steamer do not look great for Frazier: .252/.316/.452, 106 wRC+, 3.2 fWAR.

I am sure there is something that I will be horrendously wrong about coming up soon (and I’d expect you guys to let me know). We will never know what exactly Frazier could have brought back in return when he was at the pinnacle of his career, but I’d be willing to bet that it would be a lot more than the Reds will get if they decide to pull the trigger this winter.

 

30 Responses

  1. larry papania

    What do we do now? Trade Todd now for less, or throw the dice, hope he has another great first half and trade him at the July deadline?

  2. Chuck Schick

    While we don’t know what Frazier would bring now vs last July, I doubt it’s appreciably different. Most teams are smart enough to discount short term performance and look at the overall body of work. To paraphrase Denny Green ” Frazier is who most teams thought he was”

  3. jessecuster44

    Frazier winning the HR Derby may be the highlight of the Reds franchise for the next 5 yrs, so I’m somewhat happy that he wasn’t traded around that time. However, not to trade him at the deadline? Myopic.

    • jdx19

      I don’t know… maybe it’s the highlight for some, but I’d guess most fans that follow the team closely have already forgotten it. It was fun to watch, but it didn’t count for anything.

      • jessecuster44

        I am saying that the way this is going, Frazier winning the HR Derby will be the only thing the Reds win for the rest of this decade. Enjoy it.

  4. reaganspad

    i’d wait. He starts out hot again in 2016 and his value is in the upper stratosphere again.

    He starts out cold and we get to keep Super Todd. He is either a good to sometimes great team captain for the Reds, or he is a Yankee or Met with a big body of players traded for him.

    I am ok either way. Todd is a gamer and I am happy to have him on my team

    • Big56dog

      The player you are get out of him for the next 2 years is too valuable, people act like he just came out of nowhere. He was hitting one-handed HR’s in 2012 arguably his best overall year- the power number have improved year after year and he could be a late bloomer who just had a bad second half. To me he needs more coaching when he gets into those tailspins- while he was off to the monster first half last year he was one of the worst in the league with runners on third and less than 2 outs.
      I say ride it out with Votto, Frazier, Bruce, Mesoroco and Suarez and hope you land a land a decent LF and Billy can figure out how to get on base

    • greenmtred

      To believe that his value would be in the stratosphere if he has a hot start is to believe that other GM’s are dolts. It’s hard to imagine that they wouldn’t study his body of work before trading for him. He’s a valuable player, not a great opne, and might bring a decent return, hot start or no.

      • ohiojimw

        Given Frazier’s past, I think his contemporary performance could make a difference at the margin if he is dealt in season; but, I agree that it is not going to define the market for him.

  5. Jeremy Conley

    I also think you’re being a little pessimistic about what Frazier will bring back now. Sure, at the all-star break he was playing like an MVP, but you would have had fewer teams bidding on him, and it’s not often players with so much team control are traded at the deadline. Trading a guy like him actually makes more sense in the offseason to me.

    The other side is that a 3 win player who is slated to make $7.5M is a pot of gold in today’s market. Salaries seem to be jumping up so fast, when average players like Dexter Fowler are turning down $15M deals, getting Todd Frazier for that little is an Ocean’s Eleven level heist. Then add the next year of arb, which will still be less than paying a free agent, and you have a massive bargain. And that’s just if he plays to his Steamer projection. If he puts up 4 wins (not beating it by that much) the team that gets him could be getting 8 wins (say $40M in value on the open market) for probably around $20.

    There’s no way I would move Frazier for less than a package like the Red Sox gave up for Kimbrel. That included a top 25 prospect, a top 75 prospect, and two lesser players.

  6. WVRedlegs

    I think it’s a moot point. I doubt that there was even one team that would have paid the Reds price for Frazier on July 31, 2015. His value was at its zenith then. There isn’t one team that made the playoffs in 2015 that would have paid such a high price for Frazier at that time.
    One possible exception might have been Houston. KC, Toronto and Texas weren’t in the market in the AL.
    The Mets had David Wright returning. LAD, StL, Pitt, and the Cubs weren’t in the market in the NL. It would have been a very soft market for Frazier last July.
    Frazier’s slump wasn’t as pronounced then as it got worse through August. And Frazier wouldn’t have been a waiver-wire August trade.

    • jdx19

      Running a business to maximize short-term profit (or butts) is usually a pretty bad way to run a business.

      Fewer butts now, more butts later; perhaps with trophies.

      • greenmtred

        Trophies for the butts? Might be worth going to a game…

  7. james garrett

    I agree that we could have got more last year for Frazier but I for one never thought he would or should be traded.He provides great value and unless we get blown away by an offer we should keep him. I ran into him at Disney World a couple of weeks ago and he did talk to me and shake my hand.

  8. CI3J

    I think the Reds refusal to trade Frazier in the middle of last season was a business decision.

    Beyond not wanting to blowup the team around the ASG, what kind of PR hit would the team have taken if the casual fan had woken up one morning and found the Reds had traded the local hero, HR Derby Champion Todd Frazier, one of the few feel-good stories in an otherwise depressing year?

    The short term blowback would have been disastrous. Granted, it probably would have been the right choice in the long run, but I think Big Bob didn’t want to deal with what was sure to be nation-wide snark and outcry at dealing one of the few bright spots on their team.

    Should the Reds have traded Frazier last season, snark and outcry aside?

    Yes, absolutely. But I can certainly understand why they didn’t.

  9. Redgoggles

    Let Todd have his typical strong start, and trade him at deadline this year. That will allow Cozart to prove his health and Suarez to learn the position. I think the Reds should keep one of Toddfather or Bruce, but they are both way too streaky to be counted on together in the middle of a productive lineup.

  10. ArtWayne

    RedGoggles: You have crossed the line mentioning Bruce in the same breath as Frazier.. Bruce is a has-been with a War of .8 and Frazier 3.2. Frazier can bat 3rd or 4th. Bruce? 8th. Bruce doctored his RBIS and home runs off cripples(down the pipe off cement mixers) while the Fraziers’, Phillips’ and Suarezs’ carried the Reds to their sub-par number of victories. Bruce’s only chance is if the league changes the game to slo-pitch softball.

    • Redgoggles

      So, my viewpoint may be tainted by being in the yard when Bruce hit one out to clinch just a few short years ago. Plus Jay Bruce is actually younger than Todd Frazier, so I wouldn’t be so sure than he is completely washed up. Plus, the Reds have more question marks in the OF than the INF. I am a fan of both, but we are too streaky/strikeout heavy throughout the lineup.

    • jdx19

      Still waiting on that run-down of “Rally Leaders,” Art!

  11. Jim t

    Really simple if your not going to compete for a couple of years and your not going to sign him long term it’s time to trade him. The more team controllable years you can offer other teams the greater the return.

    • earmbrister

      Sounds like trade negotiations using the media as a tool. No real downside and can also be used PR with their fan base. I don’t worry about what GMs say in public; it’s all part of the game.

    • MrRed

      Well, cross the Tigers off the list of trade candidate partners for Chapman. They just acquired K-Rod from the Brewers.

  12. jdx19

    Just wanted to let people know who don’t check FanGraphs on a daily basis that they have TWO new Reds articles. One from Tuesday, one from Wednesday.

    I won’t link here, but they are both worth the read. The newest one is about Dick Williams.