Pittsburgh Pirates trade target – Todd Frazier

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The Pittsburgh Pirates could make a splash this winter in what I have previously called a franchise-defining offseason for this team. Losing a third straight Wild Card game in 2016 or worse, not making the playoffs at all, should be unacceptable for the Pirates. If Neal Huntington keeps moving the team along the same trajectory, it could be another successful regular season, but that’s not enough anymore. Maybe it’s time the Pirates alter their offseason strategy slightly and try to make a big splash that could put the team over the top next year.

One way to do that without spending a lot of money is to make a big trade. And one player who has recently been headlining trade rumors is Todd Frazier. According to Jayson Stark of ESPN, Frazier can be had:

Just like the Braves are in the midst of doing, the Reds are also beginning to tear down some of their team. They won’t be able to move guys like Joey Votto or Homer Bailey, but young players like Todd Frazier and Aroldis Chapman who are close to free agency and could bring a large return certainly warrant trade consideration.

Could Frazier be a target for the Pirates? Let’s break this down.

Frazier is a third baseman, and would be so with any other team he would be traded too. In terms of production, he blows away what Josh Harrison brought to the table last season and also out-produced Jung Ho Kang. Kang, Harrison, and Frazier have the ability to produce similar WAR values in 2016, but where Frazier trumps them both is with his power and the number of runs he drives in.

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Money also won’t be an issue for the Pirates if they were to try to acquire Frazier. He’s set to make $8.25 million in 2016 and will likely get a raise to above $10 million in 2017. Those are the only two years of control he has remaining, so he wouldn’t make big money with the Bucs.

What would it take to get him? The Reds would likely want a big return, but the Pirates have the ability to make that happen. For starters, Josh Harrison would likely be part of the package, and he could be appealing to the Reds as a young, controllable asset that can be moved around the infield. The Pirates don’t have the major league pitching to entice the Reds, but maybe they’d go for a Jameson Taillon or a Nick Kingham. Throw in a couple outfield prospects like Willy Garcia and Harold Ramirez and they could bite. After all, the Pirates don’t have room in the outfield for any future players for the foreseeable future.

Maybe they’d want Jordy Mercer instead of Harrison, but I find that unlikely.

Imagine a future infield of Todd Frazier, Jung Ho Kang, Alen Hanson, and Josh Bell. Add Tyler Glasnow to the Pirates’ starting rotation, and maybe a free agent pickup or two, and it’s hard not to get excited about the Pirates’ World Series chances in the next two seasons.

The main obstacles to this trade happening would be trading within the division and whether Huntington would be willing to give up prospects, which is has always been hesitant to do. Would it be worth what it would take to get him? I’m not sure. A trade for Frazier is highly unlikely, but it’s worth looking into. After all, maybe the Pirates are one game-changing move away from getting over the hump.

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