Pittsburgh Pirates News: Team Signs Veteran Corner Infield Slugger

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 03: Todd Frazier #21 of the Cincinnati Reds fields a ground ball in the 6th inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game at PNC Park on October 3, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 03: Todd Frazier #21 of the Cincinnati Reds fields a ground ball in the 6th inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game at PNC Park on October 3, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) /
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The Pittsburgh Pirates are bringing in a familiar face, signing veteran corner infield slugger Todd Frazier to a minor league deal.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed veteran infielder Todd Frazier to a minor leageue contract with an inivte to Spring Training. This news comes coursey of Kevin Kernan of the New York Post who tweeted about the signing earlier today:

The Pirates are more than familiar with Todd Frazier. The slugger spent his first five Major League seasons with one of the Bucs’ division rivals, the Cincinnati Reds. During his time with Cincy, Frazier hit .257/.321/.463 with 108 home runs, .340 wOBA and 113 wRC+. With plus defense and base running, Frazier racked up 15 fWAR, made 2 all-star games and won the 2015 Home Run Derby.

After 2015, Fraizer was sent to the Chicago White Sox where he played about a season and a half before being sent to The New York Yankees in 2017. He didn’t spend long in pinstripes, opting to play with their crosstown rivals, the New York Mets for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

Although Frazier struggled in his first year with the Mets, having just a .302 wOBA and 92 wRC+, he wasn’t all that bad of a hitter in his second year. Through 499 plate appearances in 2019, the slugger put up a solid .251/.329/.443 line, .328 wOBA and 106 wRC+ to go with 21 home runs.

Frazier’s solid 2019 season earned him a one year deal with the Texas Rangers, but things didn’t end as well as the Rangers had hoped. The right-handed batter only stepped to the plate 121 times while having a .702 OPS, 95 wRC+ and .310 wOBA. Eventually, he was sent back to the New York Mets at the trade deadline, but got worse before they got better, collecting just 11 hits, 4 extra base hits while walking once compared to 16 strikeouts in 51 plate appearances. This culminated to a 74 wRC+. He was also well below the 50th percentile in all of Baseball Savant’s expected stats and batted ball stats.

Frazier is a third baseman by trade, but saw an increasing amount of time at first base last year. His defense isn’t what it was at the hot corner with -2 DRS, -2.4 UZR/150 and -4.4 range runs above average through his last 1232.1 innings at the position.

However, one bright note is that Frazier was still crushing left handed pitching. He only faced lefties 64 times throughout 2020, but had 17 hits, 5 doubles and 2 home runs for a 132 wRC+. He also hit southpaws really well in 2019, posting a .294/.373/.540 line in 142 plate appearances. Frazier had a 95 DRC+ compared to an 89 wRC+ and 87 OPS+, which could mean he may be able to rebound to something similar to his 2019 season in 2021.

Frazier could make a nice platoon mate for Colin Moran at first base while also providing some depth for third base. Before the sgining, Phillip Evans was seen as the primary back up 1B, but now may put his name into the conversation for more playing time at second base. Overall, it’s a solid signing as there’s little to no risk and Frazier may turn into a solid trade piece come the deadline.

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