The White Sox made a big splash today trading for three time All-Star 3B Todd Frazier from the Cincinnati Reds in a three team deal that involved the Los Angeles Dodgers as well. The White Sox parted ways with three players including Trayce Thompson who was one of the best prospects in the organization. Thompson really turned heads with his late season play hitting .295 with 5 home runs and 16 runs batted in in 44 games.
Micah Johnson and Frankie Montaz were secondary parts of the deal with Johnson having played 36 games for the Sox this year batting .230 driving in four runs. Johnson’s considered to have a lot of upside defensively with good range and a strong arm. Frankie Montaz appeared in seven games for the Sox starting two with two losses and a high four ERA. Montaz had previously been at AA Birmingham before his call-up where he was 5-5 with a 2.97 ERA in 112IP.
So who did the White Sox get back for these three young and potentially impact players? Frazier is a guy that at 29 has already won a home run derby in dramatic walk-off fashion and competed in two All-Star Games starting this past one in his former home ballpark. Frazier’s averaged 32 home runs over the past two season and was a former first round pick of the Reds in 2007 via the 34th pick. Todd Frazier by the looks of the White Sox lineup projects to hit either fourth or fifth.
Frazier immediately brings a credible player to a position the White Sox have had trouble getting production out of for the last several years. Frazier can add protection to Abreu by his ability to hit the long ball, while also allowing for players like Garcia and LaRoche to fall down in the lineup where they may be better suited. LaRoche was a hot mess last year and seeing him batting sixth or even seventh may not be a bad thing.
The White Sox also shored up their infield defense by trading for Oakland’s Brett Lawrie in a deal that sent two minor league pitchers Zack Erwin and Jeffery Wendelken back to Oakland. Lawrie batted .260 last year with 15 home runs and 60 RBI’s which wouldn’t be bad if he could replicate that production for the Sox at 2B. Shortstop is still a wait and see approach for Rick Hahn and the Sox, but they’ve got Tim Anderson in the minors and he could be ready to step in by mid-season if he has a good early minor league campaign. Anderson is a former 17th overall pick by the Sox two years ago and finished last year in AA Birmingham where he hit .312 with 38 of his 160 hits being for extra bases. Anderson is 22 years old and will probably start out the season in Charlotte.
In breaking down the trade the Sox didn’t have to give up a whole lot in terms of young players to get a very good corner outfielder who they still control for three years. Frazier has serious pop in his bat and will be playing for that big contract with the Sox which will give him a lot of motivation. The Sox giving up Trayce Thompson obviously hurt, but he would’ve been a platoon player anyways for this season unless of injuries The return of Frazier makes his departure a little easier to swallow.
The White Sox still have a lot of holes to fill, but a lot of players last year didn’t have stellar seasons so things could change if everyone plays up to their abilities. Frazier coupled with Lawrie adds the potential for an extra 45 home runs from the infield. The White Sox still have the best pitcher in the division in Chris Sale, and Jose Quintana and Carlos Rodon are good middle of the rotation starters. By no means is this team a contender right now for anything more than a Wild Card spot, but at least by adding Frazier the team has filled a big hole on the left side of the diamond.