White Sox most likely rebuilding this offseason. Would it make sense for team to build around veteran third baseman?
Assuming the Chicago White Sox are to rebuild, would it make sense to keep Todd Frazier? There have been rumors about him signing an extension over the last several months, so the question begs to be asked. Should the South Siders keep Frazier, and deal the rest of the core?
If this scenario were to occur, a lot of elite young talent would be coming to the Sox organization. But, what position should Frazier play? A lot of that depends on who comes over in the fire sale (if that actually happens), but they have a lot of potential options.
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First base makes some sense for the Sox, as dealing Jose Abreu would be in their best interest. However, moving Abreu might not make sense over the winter. Two reasons: First, his trade value has dropped due to a down season by his standards (poor first half: .272, 11 HR’s, 52 RBI’s). Assuming he elevates his value, Abreu could bring back more at the deadline or next winter.
Second, there will be countless bats on the trade market this offseason. Due to the lack of quality free agents, most teams looking to add a bat will have to go the trade route. However, if they choose to wait they will be rolling the dice. There is a chance that next seasons trade deadline’s market could be flooded with elite talent, as a monster class will hit free agency next winter (’18 FA class could create issues in the winter in regards to Abreu).
On top of that, Frazier is the perfect player to build your franchise around. Fan friendly, and has the ability to play either corner infield position. The concern with Abreu is that he really isn’t a very good defensive first baseman, and can play nowhere else. That makes him a designated hitter, meaning as great of a hitter as he is, it will be hard to build an organization around him.
The big concern that accompanies Frazier is a lack of contact. That leads to a low average (.225 in 2016), not to mention a streaky bat. While his home run totals have increased from 19 to 40 since 2012, so has his strikeout total. While Frazier fanned 103 times in 2012 (422 at bats), he struck out 163 times in 2016 (590 at bats).
Here is the main reason to keep Frazier, that being the fact that he seems to be a veteran that younger players would gravitate towards. If there will be a massive youth movement, the Sox are going to need a guy built in that mold. Abreu doesn’t seem to be that type of personality, especially due to the language barrier.
Overall, the Sox have built such a solid young core, and will have several options via trade over the next 6-12 months. As Yankees GM Brian Cashman said, it is much easier to sell than it is to buy. In the Sox case, this is absolutely the truth, due to the wealth of elite young pitching signed to reasonable contracts. To top that off, they have other pitchers (closer David Robertson-given he has a larger contract not to mention other issues), and Adam Eaton could go due to his contract and defensive value.
So, this offseason looks as though it is going to be an active one for the Sox. Who goes is the main question, but who is around when the next core is in place seems to be the issue now. Expect significant drama around 35th and Shields in the near future, Sox fans.