Red Sox trade rumors: Todd Frazier trade talks “intensifying”

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 03: Todd Frazier
OAKLAND, CA - JULY 03: Todd Frazier /

According to reports from ESPN, the Boston Red Sox are seriously engaged in trade talks for White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier.

Just 24 hours ago the Red Sox designated Pablo Sandoval for assignment, ending the three-year saga of misery that he has brought with him. Once and for all, the club has acknowledged their mistake and has started the process of moving on at third base – a position that has been, more or less, void of any value since Adrian Beltre left in 2010.

Moving on from Sandoval is just the first step in fixing the problem at third. Stud prospect Rafael Devers is clearly being groomed to play third base for a long time, but he isn’t an immediate remedy, even if he was just promoted to Triple-A.

What makes the most sense in the near-term, and what most analysts have been predicting, is making a trade. To be fair, the Red Sox have been suspected to make a trade at third base all season and the same names have consistently popped up.

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Mike Moustakas was expected to be the primary target, but the Royals’ improved play of late has put them back within striking distance of the division. With a number of their players approaching free agency, most expect them to stick with their core from the 2015 World Series and make one last run at it so long as they’re within reach of the postseason.

With Moustakas off the board, for now, Todd Frazier‘s market has started to materialize – with many placing the Red Sox at the top of the list. There are a number of reasons why Frazier would be a fit for Boston; there’s an obvious positional need, he’s owed just less than $6 million for the remainder of the season, and his raw power is something the club lacks.

Given that fit, the Red Sox and White Sox are reportedly engaged in serious talks. ESPN Deportes’ Guillermo Celis tweeted that the clubs have ‘intensified’ their discussion Saturday.

*The direct translation reads: “I mentioned last night that if Boston had put in assignment to Sandoval, it is because they “plan” something. Todd Frazier talks intensified today.”

Since June 1, Frazier has a .923 OPS in 142 plate appearances with nine home runs and 21 RBIs. The right-hander is batting .210/.331/.438 with 16 home runs, 14 doubles, and 70 strikeouts overall. A slow start to the season suppressed his slash-line, but he’s been hot over the last month and a half and would be an immediate upgrade at the position. The Red Sox have gotten adequate production out of Deven Marrero and Tzu-Wei Lin, but the club still ranks 28th in OPS (.620) and home runs (7) at the position, while sitting 27th (-0.1) in WAR.

In some ways, Frazier’s power bat and limited financial investment make him the best option out there. He’d add a significant amount of pop to a lineup that ranks fifth-last in the majors in home runs, without tying up the club’s finances or blocking the position in the future.

Next: Red Sox promote Rafael Devers to Pawtucket

As we’ve seen in the past, the Red Sox and White Sox are no strangers to moving quickly in trade discussions. The White Sox are more than open about their desire to acquire as much young talent as possible, and so long as that doesn’t include one of the Red Sox’ few remaining blue chip prospects, there’s no reason why we couldn’t see a deal materialize soon.