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How will the White Sox handle Todd Frazier?

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Tampa Bay Rays v Chicago White Sox
After the White Sox trade Jose Quintana, they should find a new home for 3B Todd Frazier.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

While we wait for the impending Jose Quintana trade to be completed, I figured this would be a good time to discuss who is next on the chopping block. David Robertson can be quite useful for a contending team, whether as a closer or set-up man. Nate Jones could fetch a nice return as an under-the-radar reliever that has an arsenal ideal for high leverage situations.

Then there is Todd Frazier. This offseason has produced some weird results with free agency signings. Still trying to figure out what the Colorado Rockies are doing with Ian Desmond, how Dexter Fowler signed for more years and money than Edwin Encarnacion and Justin Turner’s return to the Dodgers.

Turner finalized his new deal yesterday, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

MLBtraderumors.com predicted that Turner would re-sign with the Dodgers for five-years, $85 million and ZiPS projected five-years, $107.7 million. Still not clear if Turner gave the Dodgers a hometown discount, but it appears he could have gotten more.

I can’t help but wonder how Turner’s signing will impact Todd Frazier’s market next offseason. Looking at the past three seasons, while there is a gap in production between Turner and Frazier, the divide isn’t huge.

Josh Nelson

Why worry about how much Frazier can earn in free agency? Thanks to the new CBA, it factors in the decision making if the Sox decide to keep Frazier for the start of 2017 season, or they can’t find a reasonable deal for Frazier before the season starting.

I see three possible outcomes on how it could play out for the White Sox with Frazier.

  1. Trade him this offseason.
  2. Keep him to start the season, and hope he performs well enough to merit a deal by the July deadline.
  3. Keep him for all of 2017 because Hahn couldn't strike a deal before July deadline, and offer him a qualifying offer after the season.

In a way, the Sox would be doing Frazier a favor if they decided to start 2017 with him at the hot corner. Any deal made during the season would eliminate Frazier having the qualifying offer attached to him. Despite teams not losing a first round pick anymore signing free agents with a QO attached, a QO-less Frazier would still be more attractive than a QO-attached Frazier.

Not that the White Sox owe anything to Frazier to go forward with that direction. They could run the risk like any other trade piece of running into injury or if Frazier has a poor first half that teams either A) Don’t want to trade for him or B) the White Sox get significantly less in return. If the worst-case scenario plays out, they could be stuck with Frazier for all of 2017. It would make sense to offer Frazier in this scenario a qualifying offer because he would most likely decline it, and this is where it matters how much Frazier could sign for in free agency.

From the Chicago Tribune:

A club losing a free agent who declined a qualifying offer would receive an extra selection after the first round of the next draft if the player signed a contract for $50 million or more and after the competitive balance B round if under $50 million.

Back to the three possible outcomes for Frazier, these are the results I would expect to see:

  1. Two to three prospects in return for Frazier this offseason.
  2. Two to three prospects in return for Frazier during the season.
  3. An additional draft pick between the first and second round if Frazier signs for more than $50 million, or an additional draft pick between the second and third round if Frazier signs less than $50 million.

After Hahn figures out where Quintana is going to pitch next season, rather than wait to catch his breath, he would be better served to start working out a deal for Frazier. After the Jeff Samardzija saga, I don’t think it’s the best idea keeping Frazier to start 2017 season and run the risk of having to settle for a draft pick compensation. In a market where the best remaining third baseman in free agency are Trevor Plouffe and Luis Valbuena, hopefully, it won’t be too difficult for Hahn to find a trade partner.