Orioles and infielder/outfielder Adam Frazier On a one-year, $8MM contract, reports are in agreement. John Heyman of the New York Post. The O’s then announced the signing.
It’s a belated birthday present for Frazier, who turned 31 yesterday. The veteran spent the first five years of his career with the Pirates, but has bounced to the Padres and Mariners over the past two seasons. One of his most attractive attributes is his defensive versatility, as he has played all three outfield positions as well as all three infield positions to the left side of first base.
Although he’s a little stretched at shortstop or center, he generally gets solid results for his work at the corner and in the secondary. All three defensive runs scored, Ultimate Zone Rating and Outs above average give him positive numbers for his work at second and left, while DRS and UZR favor his work in right field. In the secondary, where he spent most of his time, he had 15 DRS, 1.5 against UZR and 11 OAA.
Offensively, his track record is a bit inconsistent. In his five seasons with Pittsburgh from 2016 to 2020, he was above average in wRC+ in two of them. In two other seasons, his 97 wRC+ was below 100 average. In the shortened 2020 season, he dropped to 79. At the end of those five campaigns, his batting line was .273/.336/.413, a wRC+ of 99, a hair above league average. Still, according to FanGraphs, he was able to produce 6.8 more wins than he replaced because of his defensive contributions.
In the year In 98 games with the Bucs in 2021, he regressed, hitting .324/.388/.448, a 127 wRC rate. The Pirates flipped him to the Padres at the deadline, but he went down the stretch. He hit .267/.327/.335 in San Diego for a wRC+ of 86. The Cubs traded him to the Mariners before 2022, but his struggles continue. As a Mariner, he hit .238/.301/.311 for a wRC+ of 81.
Despite that inconsistent track record at the plate, Frazier is still a solid fit for a Baltimore team trying to chart its way forward. They still have a number of infielders and outfielders who are trying to adjust to the major leagues or have yet to arrive on the scene. George Mathieu He had a solid defensive season at shortstop, but he didn’t strike out much and struck out in 27.6% of his plate appearances. Gunnar Henderson In the year He had a solid debut in 2022 and seemed punched for third base duty, though he played second and shortstop. Ramon Urias He’s been a solid contributor this year, even winning a Gold Glove at third base, though Henderson’s arrival seems to have put him in a more expendable role. Terry Vavara May be in the mix for bench/utility work. Prospects in the field Joey Ortiz, Jordan Westberg And Cabbage mayo In the year He could make it to the big leagues in 2023 and further crowd his image.
The O’s could keep left-handed hitting Frazier at second base with right-handed Urias, though both players could go elsewhere if Baltimore wants to give the young prospect extended playing time. If Frazier’s bat regresses or is simply being squeezed by other players, they could trade him at the one-year contract deadline.
The Orioles took a big step forward in 2022 after five consecutive disastrous seasons, winning 83 games. However, 2023 looks set to be another season of assessment as the club still has plenty of young prospects either making their major league debuts or moving on to the big leagues. Frazier has the ability to slot in wherever he needs to, giving the club an opportunity to contribute with a reliable defender and bat. Whether or not the club can truly compete in 2023, Frazier could be an added utility.
This is the O’s second signing of the season Kyle Gibson A one-year, $10MM deal. As both are one-year contracts, the club continue to have no commitments on the books for 2024, as they have avoided multi-year deals altogether in recent years. It was the last time a free agent was signed to a deal longer than one season. Alex Cobb In the year It’s back in 2018. Roster Resources calculates their payroll now at just under $60MM, which is already a significant increase over last year’s $44MM figure for Cot’s Baseball contracts.
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