The Texas Rangers have been rumored to have interest in multiple notable third basemen this offseason, but Todd Frazier is a solid consolation prize.
The Texas Rangers entered the offseason ready to spend and make moves, and they’ve poured resources into the starting rotation. But still, with a hole to fill at third base, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News was first to report they have agreed to a one-year deal worth $5 million guaranteed with Todd Frazier.
According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand Frazier will make $3.5 million in 2020, with a $5.75 million club option for 2021 ($1.5 million buyout).
The Rangers were tied to interest in free agent third baseman Anthony Rendon before he signed with the division-rival Angels, and the ship appears to have sailed on any idea they’ll sign Josh Donaldson. They have also been attached to trade rumors involving Nolan Arenado, but it’s unclear just how motivated the Rockies are to move him.
Frazier had a pretty rough first season with the New York Mets in 2018, with a .213/.303/.390 slash-line (.693 OPS), 18 home runs and 59 RBI over 472 plate appearances. But he had a solid rebound last year, with a .251/.329/.443 slash-line (.772 OPS), 21 home runs and 67 RBI over 499 plate appearances. He still plays serviceable defense at the hot corner, and he could also play some first base if need be.
The Rangers got notably little production from their third baseman, and their infield as a whole (2.5 fWAR), last year. Even a 34-year old Frazier, now far removed from 35 and 40 homer seasons in 2015 and 2016, is an upgrade at third base and an option to play at little at the other corner spot. By himself last year, he accounted for 2.2 bWAR.
Signing Frazier does not have to alter any plans the Rangers may have over the rest of the offseason. Making a deal for Arenado to play third base can still be on the radar, with Frazier then shifting toward a share of time at first base with some DH at-bats sprinkled in. They may also be looking to add an outfielder, with Nick Castellanos and Marcell Ozuna perhaps on the radar there.