Cincinnati Reds Trade Todd Frazier to Chicago White Sox

It took longer than most anticipated, but the Cincinnati Reds have made their first trade of the offseason, sending third baseman Todd Frazier to the White Sox as part of a three-way deal which also included the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In return, the Reds received three prospects, all from the Dodgers: shortstop Jose Peraza, outfielder Scott Schebler and second baseman Brandon Dixon.

The White Sox acquired only Frazier, while the Dodgers picked up three prospects from Chicago: right-handed pitcher Frankie Montas, second baseman Micah Johnson and outfielder Trayce Thompson.

Frazier finishes his Reds career with a .257/.321/.463 battling line to go along with 125 doubles, 11 triples, 108 home runs (most by a third baseman in team history), 324 runs batted in, 43 stolen bases, 113 wRC+ and 15.5 fWAR.

Reds’ president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty said Eugenio Suarez is currently penciled in to become the team’s new third baseman.

Peraza, 21, is regarded as a top-100 prospect in baseball and was the Dodgers’ No. 4 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. His top tools are his contact ability and speed, while his defense is also considered to be above average. In five minor-league seasons, he has hit .302 and stolen 210 bases. Peraza burst onto the radar of scouts everywhere in 2014, when he hit a combined .339/.364/.441 with 60 stolen bases in High-A and Double-A.

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The biggest question mark with the young Venezuelan is his ability to get on base and absence of power. Despite having a career .302 batting average, Peraza’s on-base percentage is only .342 due to his lowly walk rate (4.8 percent). He has next to no power, having hit only nine home runs in 2,046 plate apperances. His four home runs in 2015 marked a career high.

If Brandon Phillips is traded, there’s a decent chance Peraza is plugged in at second base in 2016.

Schebler, 25, was rated the Dodgers’ eight-best prospect by Baseball America before the 2015 season and was the team’s No. 14 prospect before the trade, per MLB Pipeline. His main upside is his power from the left side of the plate, having hit 87 home runs through parts of six years in the minors (55 in 2013 and 2014 combined). He has shown better on-base skills than Peraza, but his 6.6 BB% still leaves something to be desired. As most power hitters do, he also strikes out a lot, fanning in 22 percent of his minor league plate apperances.

After a big 2014 season (.280/.365/.556, 28 home runs), Schebler had a tough time in his first taste of Triple-A in 2015, hitting .241/.322/.410 with 13 home runs. He made his major-league debut in July and was called up for an extended stay in September, going 9-for-36 (.250) with three home runs and four runs batted in on the year.

Schebler could probably use more time in Triple-A, but should be given an opportunity to win an outfield spot during spring training.

Dixon, 23, has the least professional experience of any player acquired in the trade, having been a third-round draft pick in 2013. He’s played three positions in addition to second base — third base, center field and left field — making him a potential utility player down the road. His career numbers at the plate aren’t much to write home about, but he did make strides in 2015. His 19 home runs more than doubled his previous career best, and his 26 stolen bases also marked a personal high. Like Peraza and Schebler, he also has a low walk rate (4.3 percent), though he did show some improvement (from 2.9 to 5.2 percent) in 2015.

Double-A Pensacola seems to be the most likely destination for Dixon in 2016.

The reviews for the trade haven’t been great so far. Per the Cincinnati Enquirer’s C. Trent Rosecrans, the Reds were offered the package that ended up going from the White Sox to the Dodgers, but Jocketty opted for the Dodgers’ offer, a move that has been criticized:

Others are criticizing whether the Reds got enough in return to make a big impact:

And the criticism is fair. It seems the Reds got too caught up in acquiring position players instead of simply stocking up the best talent possible. The organization had a clear need for young hitters, but the three prospects don’t do much to excite. All have upside, but none seem to have the star potential that a team would ideally desire in a return for one of the game’s best third basemen.

That being said, Jocketty has been largely successful with trades since coming to Cincinnati, despite his other shortcomings, so it may be necessary to give him the benefit of the doubt until we see how everything unfolds.