Todd Frazier bears no responsibility for the White Sox' inability to find a third baseman since Joe Crede's back gave out, but he'll probably feel some of that burden starting with questions at SoxFest.
The Sox have had flashes of adequacy at the position, like Gordon Beckham's exciting rookie season and Kevin Youkilis' admirable stopgap job in 2012, but nobody's been able to sustain play longer than four months. If Frazier can put together a decent season by his standards -- we're not even talking All-Star level -- he'll be comfortably ahead of the pace.
And he'll also be the best White Sox player ever named Todd.
Granted, there's not a ton of competition. The White Sox have only had three over the first 115 years of the franchise. By comparison, the White Sox might roll out a three-Zach bullpen in 2016 alone (fingers crossed for the lefties being Duke-Phillips).
Still, these Todds three stand out for all being below replacement level, two of them were memorably so, and one of them was acquired via a significant trade. Third base might be a low bar, but this one's even lower, and thus a decent place to start.
The complete history of White Sox players named "Todd" is as follows:
White Sox total: -0.3 bWAR
Resume: Played 90 games at shortstop for the 1980 Chicago White Sox after he was acquired in a midseason trade for Randy Scarbery. The Sox started the season with Greg Pryor at short, but it was a lateral move at best, and most likely a small step in the wrong direction.
- Cruz: .232/.259/.297 over 311 PA, -0.3 bWAR
- Pryor: .240/.265/.325 over 367 PA, 0.7 bWAR
Both graded out as above-average shortstops by the metrics, although Baseball-Reference.com thinks Pryor was a Gold Glover.
Greatest contribution: Being involved in a trade package with Jim Essian and Rod Allen for Tom Paciorek, which was a deal the Sox won handily.
White Sox total: -0.5 bWAR
Resume: Pitched in 12 games for the White Sox across the 1998 and 1999 seasons, allowing 14 runs (11 earned) on 16 hits and nine walks over eight innings. He's the only pitcher in Chicago White Sox history with a WHIP above 3.00 (3.13), at least among those with 10 games of experience.
Greatest contribution: Making it to the majors as a 26-year-old after an inauspicious start to his career. He wasn't drafted out of high school, didn't play at all in 1993, then walked 62 batters over 47 innings in the independent Texas-Louisiana League at age 23 the following year. The fact that he broke camp in the White Sox bullpen four years later registers as an impressive climb.
Manuel noticed Cotts' easy demeanor, but he vowed not to get fooled. That had happened once before, during his first year with the Sox in 1998.
Manuel observed lefty reliever Todd Rizzo showing some bravado in the lobby of the team hotel in Texas before the team's second game of the season.
Rizzo kissed his left biceps and said: "Oh, this is it. I can't wait to get out there and show this lightning bolt."
Rizzo promptly got lit up, allowing six runs on four hits and two walks. He didn't record an out.
"He couldn't breathe," Manuel recalled. "How are you going to get an out if you can't breathe?"
So much for Rizzo having nerves of steel.
White Sox total: -1.7 bWAR
Resume: Went 5-15 with a 6.06 ERA over 26 starts for the 2002 White Sox after Kenny Williams acquired him for Kip Wells, Josh Fogg and Sean Lowe. He posted a -1.7 bWAR, which stands as the least valuable pitching season by a White Sox pitcher since 1995 (Jason Bere, -2.0 bWAR), and he's also the last White Sox starter to post an ERA above 6.00.
Greatest contribution: Shows the Jeff Samardzija trade could've been worse.