The Cincinnati Reds have traded All-Star third baseman Todd Frazier to the Chicago White Sox in a six player deal that also involved the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Frazier, who turns 30 in February, hit a career high 35 home runs and 89 RBI on a Reds team which lost 98 games in 2015. I must admit I was initially puzzled by the trade as the Chisox acquired Brett Lawrie from the Oakland A’s last week. Lawrie is normally a third baseman, but can also play second base. So I would imagine that in 2016 Frazier would play third, Lawrie would play second while Tyler Saladino would get a shot a shortstop with Alexei Ramirez likely to depart via free agency.
The Reds are having the fire sale which began last summer with the trades of both Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake to the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants, respectively. (Cueto has since signed a free agent contract with the Giants while Leake remains a free agent). The Reds did attempt to trade closer Aroldis Chapman to the Dodgers, but the deal has been held up amid a domestic violence allegation against Chapman this past October.
If the Reds don’t trade Chapman then look for longtime second baseman Brandon Phillips to be next. Rumor has it that the Washington Nationals are very interested in Phillips. A trade to DC would reunite Phillips with Dusty Baker. Phillips has been in a Reds uniform for the past 10 seasons and has won four Gold Gloves and been selected to three NL All-Star Teams. But as Phillips approaches 35, a change of scenery is probably in order.
The only Reds player who is untouchable at the moment would be Joey Votto who finished third in NL MVP balloting this season. This probably owes to the fact that Votto is under contract to the Reds through the 2023 season at an annual salary of $20 million. Even with Votto’s offensive resurgence in 2015, most clubs would be reluctant to part with top prospects for a 32-year old first baseman. But then again if the Reds play poorly in 2016 and some contending team is in desperate need of a lefthanded power hitter that team could make Cincinnati an offer it can’t refuse.