Baseball – Todd Frazier Joins the Yankees as Part of Seven-Player Trade
Despite growing up a professed Boston Red Sox fan in Toms River, Todd Frazier will be right at home at Yankee Stadium when he puts on the pinstripes for the first time.
When he was a star on Toms River's Little League World Series, he and his teammates were invited onto the field at the old Yankee Stadium, which produced a now-famous photo of a 12-year-old Frazier standing out at shortstop next to Derek Jeter.
At the end of every home win in high school, the speakers at what is now known as Ken Frank Stadium blared Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York", just like the speakers at the Yankee Stadiums old and new.
Instead of venturing to SEC or ACC country to play college baseball, Frazier kept in touch with his New Jersey roots by playing his college ball at Rutgers University.
Even though his professional career took him away from N.J., he still makes his home in Toms River and spends his time there in the offseason.
After spending the first six-plus years of his Major League career in Cincinnati and Chicago, Frazier is returning to his roots to try to help the Yankees win a championship.
Tuesday night, news broke of a seven-player deal that will send Frazier - a product of Toms River South and Rutgers University - from the Chicago White Sox to the New York Yankees along with former White Sox teammates and right-handed relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle.
In return, the Yankees sent the White Sox reliever Tyler Clippard and prospects Blake Rutherford, Ian Clarkin and Tito Polo. Rutherford was the Yankees' No. 1 pick in 2016 and Clarkin was also a first-round pick in 2013.
The deal gives the Yankees two impact arms for their already-imposing bullpen, but the headliner in the exchange is Frazier. The 31-year-old will fill a need on either corner of the infield for the Yankees, who are currently playing Chase Headley at third base and a platoon of Ji-Man Choi and acquisition Garrett Cooper at first base.
On the surface, Frazier is having an off year by his standards, hitting just .207 with 16 home runs in 335 plate appearances in 2017. Digging a little deeper, however, there is reason to believe the Yankees got a power hitter who still has the skills to put an offense on his back for two months.
Although Frazier's .207 average marks a career worst, his 21.2 percent strikeout rate is in line with his 21.7 percent career average and he is also walking at a 14.3 percent clip, which is nearly five percent better than his previous career high. Frazier's .225 isolated slugging percentage is also better than his career average of .214, which suggests there is still plenty of power in his bat.
In the days leading up to the trade, Frazier's name was connected to the Boston Red Sox, according to multiple reports. The Red Sox are also expected to be in the market for an upgrade at third base and with the White Sox currently sporting the worst record in the American League and a stockpile of prospects pushing their way toward the Majors, Frazier was among the most available and capable corner infielders available.
The Yankees are currently 48-44, 3 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the American League East standings and 1 1/2 games ahead of the Minnesota Twins in the race for the second wild card spot.
Frazier will be in uniform Wednesday afternoon when the Yankees play the Twins in Minneapolis.