Todd Frazier Looking Like Free Agent Steal for Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers infielder Todd Frazier celebrates a double against the Los Angeles Angels (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Texas Rangers infielder Todd Frazier celebrates a double against the Los Angeles Angels (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The season is a third of the way over and still Todd Frazier continues to deliver. Was he the steal of free agency for the Texas Rangers?

When the Texas Rangers inked Todd Frazier to a free agent deal this past offseason it seemed a logical move, but one that was not of the caliber many fans wanted. With eyes turned to Colorado’s Nolan Arenado or Chicago’s Kris Bryant, the addition of Todd Frazier to seemingly take over third base for the departed Adrian Beltre felt an underwhelming move. Fast forward to the start of the 2020 season and Frazier was shifted from starting third baseman to first base with the emergence of Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Still though, Frazier was seen as an accompanying piece to the lineup, not the catalyst he’s been.

The 34-year old vet is off to a strong start for the Rangers and has been a leader in the clubhouse and in the lineup. Hitting .300 through 18 games, Texas has gotten more than they bargained for in a good way with Frazier who has demolished left-handed pitching this season. He always has had good splits against southpaws but through 11 games he has 24 plate appearances against left-handers and is hitting .476 with three RBIs and four runs scored. His performances at the plate have helped propel Texas to a couple of late-inning victories.

Frazier has also taken a visible leadership role with the team. A veteran who has had a few stops around the league, Frazier brings some experience that Texas lacked especially since the departure of Adrian Beltre. For the most part, everyday players are comprised of homegrown talent or players with multiple stops but that don’t necessarily hold the most contributing role on the squad. Frazier’s energy is visible to those who watch even on his days off and he seems to be having a notable impact on the locker room.

The steal of Frazier’s addition comes not only in what he has brought to the team on and off the field, but with the cost of his acquisition. The Texas Rangers signed Frazier to a one year deal with a guaranteed of $5 million. HIs deal has a base salary of $3.5 million without a buyout for 2021 at $1.5 million. But he also has a club option for $5.75 million for the 2021 season, an option the Rangers seem very likely to pick up.

Over the next few weeks it would not be completely shocking to see Frazier end up in more of a platoon role especially with the addition of Derek Dietrich to the team and Danny Santana’s activation from the IL which happened Sunday. Frazier hasn’t been overwhelming against right-handed pitching this season hitting just .205 in 43 plate appearances and posting just a .612 OPS. For reference his OPS against lefties is 1.304. But that could open up the opportunity to get Dietrich or Santana regular at-bats with Dietrich being a left-handed hitter and Santana a switch-hitter.

The role that Frazier will fill over his time in Texas is still being carved out. He could continue in an everyday role which would not be a poor decision. He also could fit into the aforementioned platoon role where he splits time guided by the starting pitcher Texas will face that day. But at his contract, he has become one of the most valuable additions to this Rangers’ squad.

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