Should the Reds sign Todd Frazier to a Long-Term Deal?


Todd Frazier has become somewhat of a fan favorite in Cincinnati, what with his fun-loving personality and his love for Frank Sinatra.

He’s arbitration-eligible this year and the Reds are having a difficult time agreeing with his agent over what his contract should be (Frazier and Aroldis Chapman are the only two arbitration-eligible players who haven’t agreed to a contract yet). The argument could be length or money-related, or both. What we do know is that the Reds control Frazier’s contract until at least 2018. The question becomes, should the Reds sign him to an extended long-term deal? Or should they just keep his contract at three years? I believe it should be the latter.

Frazier has turned into an everyday, middle-of-the-lineup player who’s going to hit 15-20 home runs and drive in 70 runs a year. He’s proven to be durable (*knock on wood*). He’s played 150+ games the past two seasons, and he played 128 games in 2012. He’s proven that he can play first base as well as third. He can also steal bases and play solid defense. For these reasons, he’s probably asking for the same type of deal Devin Mesoraco received. The question becomes: is he as good of a hitter as Mesoraco.

Frazier has become a better hitter throughout his years at the major league level. He has improved his hits, home run, and RBI totals each of the past three seasons, with last year being his best year. His WAR is evidence of that. It was 5.2 in 2014, up from 2.5 in 2013. I expect that number will regress a little this season. The reason for that is because I don’t expect Frazier to hit 29 home runs this year. While he has the power in his swing, the mechanics of his swing aren’t very conducive to hitting home runs.

If the Reds don’t pay Frazier past 2018, who are some potential future options at third? Third basemen in the team’s farm system are few and far between right now. Of the infielders in the Reds minor league system, the one who stands out as most likely to make it to the majors on a consistent basis is Seth Meijas-Brean. He was drafted in 2012 and played for both Bakersfield and Pensacola in 2014. He hit .300 at Bakersfield, but struggled at Pensacola. However, he does have a career .291 average and will be only 24 in April.  Taylor Sparks was a 2014 selection, but has only had half a season of minor-league experience thus far.

Another option could be to draft a third baseman in the 2015 MLB draft and by the time 2018 rolls around, the potential player could be ready to play or almost ready.

All of this is, of course, speculation. But it’s what happens when home grown talent like Frazier turns into an everyday, middle-of-the-lineup player. It’s reality, especially for a team who is not at the top of the league in payroll. At some point, the Reds have to make a decision on what players they want to keep. And they’ve already decided to keep Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips.

Frazier has become one of the faces of the Reds franchise, and because Reds fans love Twitter contests, he’ll probably be the winner of MLB Network’s Face of MLB contest. But while he’s good with fans and he’s given Reds fans some great moments on and off the field (see: Teddy Kremer), I just don’t know if it’s worth giving him a four or five year deal somewhere in the range of $20-$30 million. In the end, it’s about the money.