Good things come to those who wait. I wish I had a dollar every time one of my parents used that line on me growing up. Or how about this one, patience is a virtue…
Say whatever you want about his snail’s pace negotiating tactics, but you gotta give Sandy Alderson his due this offseason whether you like any of his moves or not. And yes I know there’s no difference maker in the lot, but at least it moves the bar a little higher.
Mets have been one of the most active teams this offseason.
Alderson’s slow and deliberate manner can be maddening as hell at times, but for a team that’s shedding some payroll, every penny he saves is literally a penny earned and a penny he can spend on something else.
With the addition of Todd Frazier at a reasonable two-year, $17 million dollar deal, Sandy essentially wrapped up his offseason – at least where the offense is concerned – for less than $60 million dollars.
Todd Frazier – $17 million
Adrian Gonzalez – $545 thousand
Jay Bruce – $39 million
Jose Reyes – $2.5 million
Add in reliever Anthony Swarzak at a cost of $14 million dollars and you have the Mets among the most active teams this offseason, adding five players for roughly $73 million dollars. Nobody can accuse the front office of sitting on their hands, and I’ll go one better…
This might be the most active offseason we’ve seen under Sandy Alderson, obviously not in dollars spent, but certainly in the number of MLB contracts doled out.
A massive upgrade at third base.
One of the reasons I wanted the Mets to make a serious run at Todd Frazier was because of the clown show the Mets had at third base last season. In an article on Frazier last month I wrote:
“I love Frazier, I really do. He’s got the kind of power you crave from a third baseman, but he would be a massive upgrade defensively at the position as well. That’s not to say that Frazier is Brooks Robinson out there, he isn’t. But when you consider what the Mets have been trotting out at third base the last few years, it would refreshing to see a plus defender at the hot corner for a change and I’m sure many on the Mets pitching staff would agree.”
I can’t over-emphasize just how bad our defense at third was last season. The Mets trotted out eight different players at the hot corner with Wilmer Flores, Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera doing most of the heavy lifting. The lot of them combined for an unsightly -17 defensive runs saved.
In the above referenced article, I concluded that adding Frazier at third base could result in an extra 3-4 wins for the Mets, and who knows with a little luck it could be the difference in whether or not the Mets make the postseason in 2018. The significant upgrade on defense will have a direct impact on our pitching and along with a sure-handed Amed Rosario at shortstop, now gives the Mets a formidable left side of the infield.
And while I’m not exactly thrilled with the prospect of having Asdrubal Cabrera playing every day at second base, perhaps it won’t be as bad as we think, given that Cabrera’s has expressed his desire to play second rather than third. Hopefully more reps translates into more familiarity and ultimately better play.
Frazier is one of the most durable players in the game.
“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. 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 gives Callaway another thumper in the lineup who he can use in a number of different ways when he fills out his lineup card. He can also play some first base if the need arises, but what’s really appealing to me is his durability. For a team that has endured so many injuries over the last two years, in Frazier the Mets are getting a player who has averaged 154 games played per season since 2013. That cannot be overstated.
Ignore batting average.
A lot has been made of Frazier’s low batting average and I see far too many fans knocking this signing because of it. Frazier has hit at least 25 home runs in each of the last four seasons and is only two seasons removed from a career-high 40 home runs and 98 RBI in 2016 with the White Sox.
Over the last four seasons, the soon-to-be 32-year old has slugged 131 homers and posted a 16.1 bWAR including a 3.4 bWAR last season. And when you consider Frazier’s career-low BABIP in 2017, we could expect to see some real significant improvement on his overall production this season.
The bottom line is that this signing was a major coup for Sandy Alderson and the Mets. Not only are they adding a legitimate power threat, a significant defensive upgrade at third base, and a true veteran leader that was desperately needed in that clubhouse, but they are getting all that for an average annual salary of $8.5 million dollars and on a short two-year deal. Wow…
That would have been unheard of when this offseason started and it’s a true testament to Sandy Alderson whose patience has really paid off for the Mets this offseason. Here’s to an exciting season in 2018.