It is quite obvious that the Royals could use another bat in the lineup. While the expectation is that the Royals will seek to upgrade right field and their bench, third base has been a bit of an offensive black hole as well. Royals third basemen have “produced” a .632 OPS, ranking 26th in baseball. While Mike Moustakas has provided a few home runs and has had a much better demeanor recently, the platoon with Moustakas and Danny Valencia just has not produced thus far.
While the Royals value Moustakas for his defensive acumen, that ability essentially counters his inability with the bat. Moustakas has been just over replacement level this season, and Valencia has actually been even worse, posting a negative WAR. As bad as Nori Aoki has been this season, third base has only been slightly better than the production the Royals have gotten in right.
So, who would the Royals be able to get to play third base, providing the type of defense they desire and the offense they need? Adrian Beltre may be made available by the Texas Rangers, however the approximately $24 Million owed to him through the end of next season and the $18 Million vesting option for 2016 are likely to be far more than the Royals would want to spend. If the Royals are looking for an inexpensive player to provide both offensive pop and solid defense, then their best option may be the Cincinnati Reds’ Todd Frazier.
Frazier, who displayed some power potential over his first two seasons, is in the midst of what could be an All-Star season. As of this point, Frazier has produced a .280/.348/.516 batting line with 17 home runs, which is just two away from his career high over a full season. Frazier has even chipped in nine stolen bases, being caught four times. Even though Frazier has not had great success with the stolen base, he does have enough speed where he would fit in with the Royals desire to run and put pressure on opposing defenses.
Defensively, Todd Frazier would also fit in with the Royals desire to have a stellar defensive club. As lauded as Mike Moustakas is for his defense, Frazier has been better this season. Frazier has five more runs than Moustakas, has a slightly better range factor and has turned twice as many double plays. For the year, Frazier leads the National League in putouts, ranks fifth in assists and is fourth in fielding percentage.
With Frazier only being 28 years old and not eligible for arbitration until after this season, it is probable that the Reds would want a lot in return. However, Frazier may be developing into the type of third baseman that the Royals envisioned Mike Moustakas becoming – a legitimate power threat who can play Gold Glove caliber defense at third. Given the Royals playoff aspirations, and the fact that Frazier would be under team control until 2018, it may be worth contacting the Reds to see what it would take to part ways with the third baseman. Even though a trade would likely involve Kyle Zimmer and another top prospect, it may be worth considering.
The Royals and their fans had dreams of a playoff berth this season. While we are dreaming, we may as well imagine the perfect upgrade at third base for the Royals. Todd Frazier coming to Kansas City may be nothing more than a pipe dream, but we can still dream of such a scenario.