The Mariners are known to be looking for improvements in the infield, and The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports (via Twitter) that Seattle is currently actively pursuing infielders who are controlled beyond the 2021 season – including Pittsburgh Adam frazier. Pirates are obvious sellers, and it’s generally expected that Frazier will likely be traded by next Friday at 4 p.m. ET.
Frazier, 29, is in the midst of the best season of his solid career. His 413 home plate appearances are the fourth-most important in Major League Baseball, and he had a solid 0.327 / 0.390 / 0.453 batting line with four homers, 27 doubles, four triples and five steals. Frazier’s 10.9% strikeout rate is the fifth lowest among the 137 big league hitters. He’s also tied for the fifth-best contact rate in the game (88.4%) and has the seventh-lowest swing rate in the game (5.4%).
It is true that Frazier enjoyed a certain fortune on the balls in play; This year’s .363 BABIP is a career high. However, even with some regression in this department, Frazier would likely still enjoy a career year because of this low career retirement rate. Statcast sets his “expected” batting average at 0.297, after all, and he’s still walking at a respectable eight percent rate while swinging and missing less than ever. He may not be maintaining that level of production, but he has made his 2020 season particularly hit and miss.
Frazier’s value goes beyond his contributions to the plate as well. His second base defense got higher odds in recorded defensive points and above-average strikeouts for his career, and he’s also an above average left fielder in virtually every respect.
The Mariners surely see Frazier as a potential upgrade to second base, where they’ve received a collective exit of .198 / .267 / .345 so far in 2021. It’s a disastrous exit no matter how you feel. consider it, but it’s actually far worse lately; this combined effort includes 69 appearances of very solid plates of Ty France, who reduced .293 / .391 / .483 playing second base. France, however, has played more at first base lately. The Mariners’ non-French second baseman in 2021 is just 0.178 / .239 / .317 this season.
As such, it’s no surprise to see Frazier among the Mariners’ targets. He plays the year with a salary of $ 4.3 million and is controlled until 2022 by arbitration. That’s a key distinction for the Mariners, who are seven games behind in the AL West and four and a half games behind on a Wild Card spot. They aim to stock up on a bit of the long-running playoffs in 2021, but it makes sense to add players who can help out next year when their young core is more established (and likely after some offseason spending). .
It stands to reason that if Seattle is looking at Frazier, GM Jerry Dipoto has also assessed the asking price on Royals All-Star. Whit merrifield, who once again saw his name resurface in the summer rumor mill. Dipoto is never afraid to make deals and will likely check out a number of controllable and longer term business candidates as the deadline approaches.