Roster construction has come into view for the 2020 Milwaukee Brewers. After separating with about half the 2019 squad, David Stearns and Company have built a team around financial flexibility with the hopes that the 2020 version of the Brewers will compete as well as they have for the past two seasons.
There are still a couple of spots where Milwaukee could improve, and one is at the position of third base. A remaining option on the free agent market that could provide solid production both offensively and defensively is Todd Frazier.
If the Brewers were to sign Frazier, they would be bringing in another veteran presence with playoff experience. In his prime, the “Todd Father,” was a 3-4 win player. At this later stage of his career, however, a more realistic baseline is approaching 2 WAR. There are seasons where his OBP fails to excite the senses, yet perhaps surprisingly he slugged around or better than .500 every year. Last year in his age-33 campaign, he put up a solid slash line of .251/.329/.443 while hitting 21 home runs in 499 plate appearances with the Mets. He was also graded at +1 Defensive Runs Saved at the hot corner.
Now heading into his age-34 season, a replication of his 2019 would be beneficial to the team here in Milwaukee. However as a Brewer, Todd Frazier could be utilized differently than he has been in the past. When you look at Frazier’s splits against left handed pitching, he crushes it. At least he did in 2019. In 142 plate appearances against left handed pitching in 2019, Frazier slashed .294/.373/.540 with a 142 wRC+. Using him in a platoon or playing him less often might enhance his offensive value. Given his track record and continued solid output, though, Frazier is likely looking for a landing spot where he’ll be able to play on a near-everyday basis.
So it is important that even against right handed pitching, Frazier would be a dangerous power bat that provides length to a sneaky good line up. His 92 wRC+ against same-handed hurlers last season was decent enough, and he’s hit righties at a 106 wRC+ for his career. He also launched 13 of his 21 dingers against right-handed pitchers last season. With Frazier playing third base in Milwaukee, there would be a potential impact bat at every position not called pitcher on the field. While not what he once was, he would not hurt the Brewers defensively.
At this point in Todd Frazier’s career, teams know the player they are getting. He is a low average, middling OBP guy that can hit the ball out of the ballpark. He is solid defensively. He can even play a little first base if need be. Used appropriately, the Brewers just might be able to get the most out of the veteran player. It might be possible to get Frazier on a one-year contract at a reasonable amount. If that would be the case, it would not be a surprise to see Frazier in Milwaukee for the 2020 season.
Baseball statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference