By Zach Gewelb
The Mets seem to be the only team willing to spend money this offseason. They’ve already added reliever Anthony Swarzak, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and brought back Jay Bruce, along with Jose Reyes. Now, the Amazins have welcomed former Yankee third baseman Todd Frazier to Queens.
Frazier, who reportedly agreed to a two-year, $17 million pact with the club, is a great get for New York. I’ve made the argument for the Mets to sign the New Jersey native all winter, as he’s seemingly a perfect fit for this ballclub.
Frazier isn’t the hitter he once was, but still has power and excels at getting on base. Look at last year’s numbers, for example: He only hit .213 with the White Sox and Yanks, but he recorded a .344 on-base percentage, proving his ability to be patient at the plate and draw out at-bats.
The Mets have a lot of free swingers on the roster. The only full-time players who recorded an OBP better than Frazier last season were Yoenis Cespedes (.352) and Asdrubal Cabrera (.351). As a team, New York recorded a .320 OBP, which ranked ninth in the National League and 18th in all of baseball. Adding Frazier helps in that regard.
He also adds some right-handed power to a lineup that recorded a National League best 224 home runs in 2017. The additions of Frazier and Bruce will deepen and balance the Mets’ lineup, which should once again rank near the top of the majors in dingers.
Frazier also brings a solid glove to the hot corner. His addition means Cabrera can slide from third to second and should improve the team’s infield defense. He may not be a gold-glover, but he makes all the routine plays and is quick on his feet over at third.
But, as I’ve mentioned earlier this offseason, Frazier’s best asset is his leadership. He’s been in the league for seven years and has some postseason experience, which should come in handy in Queens. Frazier is also one of the more likeable players in the league and has a knack for keeping things loose in the clubhouse.
Mets manager Mickey Callaway, who faced Frazier’s Yankees in the ALDS, had nothing but praise to offer Frazier, who turns 32 on Monday, when asked about him earlier this month.
“He’s a baseball player. And you know what he did at the end of the season when we were preparing to play the Yankees, he made some adjustments at the plate. He stopped chasing balls,” Callaway said. “He stopped trying to go down there and flick that ball to left, he was laying off balls that he was going after in the past. You look at his average (.213), but that’s going to change if he continues to do what he did the last month of the season. And he can hit some home runs.” Frazier’s OBP in September 2017 was a season-high .389.
Frazier brings a solid bat, a strong glove and leadership to a team in need of all three, and the Mets were able to bring him in without breaking the bank.
This is a strong move for New York, who have quietly pieced together a nice offseason. There’s still work to be done, but for now, Mets fans should be happy with how their team is coming together.
Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewe