Once Justin Turner signed a wholly reasonable four-year contract to remain a Los Angeles Dodger, I had a sense that the White Sox might have a hard time finding a taker for Todd Frazier, at least for any meaningful return. Frazier’s market was going to be defined by the runner-ups for Turner, but $64 million wasn’t the kind of price that suggested other teams tried to break down the door for him. If Frazier is the poor man’s Turner, you can extrapolate the lack of burning desire further. Luis Valbuena and Trevor Plouffe remain unsigned, after all.
The San Francisco Giants serve as a good example of team interests in this hunt. First of all, they signed Mark Melancon to a four-year, $62 million contract. While Melancon represented the budget option among the proven closers on the market, he still earned a deal that came within $2 million of Turner, who was maybe the second-best position player on the market. Melancon’s deal looks like demand outpaced supply, even though the supply was robust. The contracts for Turner and Edwin Encarnacion reflect what happens when a short supply meets an even shorter demand.
Moreover, the Giants were one of the teams that showed significant interest in Turner. Maybe it was more to apply pressure to their rival’s pursuit, but at MLB Trade Rumors, Jeff Todd surveyed the league and sees the Giants as holding one of the weaker hands at third.
Giants — Eduardo Nunez remains the odds-on favorite to man third, in concert with Connor Gillaspie. But if San Francisco feels it’s better able to improve its offensive production with Frazier than by adding a corner outfielder, with Nunez turning back into a quality utilityman, then perhaps the Giants could make for an interesting fit.
On paper, Frazier makes sense here. Nunez has only been an average-to-good player for two years, and he’s a better bet to qualify as “good” when he’s free to fill in at other positions. Plus, White Sox fans understand the pitfalls of placing too much hope on Gillaspie. This should be good runner-up material with which the White Sox can work.
But there hasn’t been much. The latest rumor on Frazier is from the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, and all he says is that Jose Abreu has received more interest. The Giants, meanwhile, are literally looking the other way for third base help, “showing continued interest” in Jae-Gyun Hwang.
Hwang didn’t get much action in his last year of KBO team control -- the Lotte Giants didn’t get a bid for his services -- but he sustained the power breakout while massively slashing strikeouts in 2016. He’s also an untethered free agent, so he should be able to find a taker on a prove-yourself deal. I would endorse the White Sox making such a deal for the entertainment value if they had the room:
One can question whether the Giants can toy around with a prove-yourself deal if they’re hunting for power to hang in an improved division. Frazier hit 40 homers while playing a decent third base, even if it was maybe the weakest 40-homer season in baseball history due to an ugly contact profile. I suppose it’s a sign of Frazier’s market that the Giants can even pretend to not be impressed by what he’s proven.