Mets: Todd Frazier is too good for them

By Shawn Jindal

Thursday night, Buster Olney pointed out the numerous trade chips the struggling Reds have at their disposal. He specifically linked third baseman Todd Frazier to Queens, tweeting “Todd Frazier would be an absolutely perfect fit for the Mets right now. And they’ve got pitching to deal.” Matt Cerrone agreed, citing Frazier’s New Jersey roots and interest in playing in New York.

Todd Frazier is very underrated. And he is very good. He quietly hit 29 home runs last season, albeit in a bandbox, and already has 16 this season. He ranked third among National League third basemen in wRC+ last season, and third in fWAR.

Frazier currently has the second-highest wRC+ among National League third basemen and the highest fWAR. He is a strong defensive player who can steal a base when necessary, and appears to be an ideal fit for the #2 slot in the offense-deprived Mets lineup.

But Frazier is a third baseman. And contrary to popular belief, the Mets do have one of those.

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There is no timetable for David Wright‘s return. But frankly, the pervasive worry that the captain will never return is a product of pessimism and media exaggeration. Fans have a woeful misunderstanding of spinal stenosis, and how widely the condition varies. That, and they’re just conditioned to assume everything that can go wrong, will go wrong with their Amazins.

But assuming the captain can and will return in 2015, trading for Todd Frazier would handcuff the Mets. Obviously, David Wright will not be switching positions, nor should he. Frazier is a versatile player, but he is mainly limited to the corner infield positions and the outfield.

Although both Michael Cuddyer and Curtis Granderson have been wildly disappointing, the Mets do not have the luxury of eating the salaries of either player. Granderson and Cuddyer are under contract for 2016 as well (with Granderson signed through 2017), at which point Frazier will be earning $7.5 million. The chances of ownership allowing so much money to be spent on a potential outfield platoon are minimal.

But more importantly, Frazier would simply cost too much talent. The Reds have no reason to trade a 29-year old All-Star making only $4.5 million for nothing. A deal would almost certainly include Steven Matz or Noah Syndergaard, and more.

Mets fans will surely complain when Sandy Alderson doesn’t pursue Todd Frazier. But I’d be interested in seeing how much those same fans would complain if we dealt a top young pitcher and more for him.