By Bruce Levine —
CHICAGO (CBS) — The AL East-leading Boston Red Sox need a short-term answer at third base. And the Chicago White Sox have one for them.
Todd Frazier may be the answer to Boston’s need of fortification at the hot corner the rest of 2017 after the Red Sox recently designated Pablo Sandoval for assignment. If so, the White Sox will be ready to listen.
The Red Sox have used five different third basemen without getting the production they desire this season. On top of Sandoval’s exit, the minor league contract that Jhonny Peralta signed has been terminated. With two weeks left before the non-wavier trade deadline, the time to react will be soon for Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski. They had one of their top scouts in town watching Frazier this weekend.
The Red Sox have been looking at Frazier, veteran Marlins infielder Martin Prado and Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas. Kansas City is really reluctant to trade Moustakas despite the fact that he’ll be a free agent in November, sources said. The Royals’ recent surge into contention has general manager Dayton Moore leaning toward competing and holding onto some of his top free agents, such as Moustakas.
Frazier has a prorated $12 million contract left this season. That means Boston would be on the hook for slightly more than $5.5 million if it acquires him. Frazier entered play Saturday hitting .210 with 16 homers and 44 RBIs in 79 games.
Prado still is owed a total of $32 million through 2019. Even if the Marlins eat some of the deal, it appears Frazier with his right-handed pull power is the better fit for the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Frazier has cut his strikeouts down and has trended up in walks. He averaged just more than a strikeout per game in 2016. He has 70 in 79 games this season.
Frazier is also on pace for 80 walks. His career-high is 64.
“I am looking for one pitch the whole at-bat until I get to two strikes,” Frazier said. “When I get to two strikes, I am getting my foot down earlier to see the pitches better. This is a difficult process, but a lot of guys are doing it this way now. See the ball with two strikes better is the new approach.”
The energetic Frazier knows his time in Chicago is winding down. He’s lightening up the clutter in his locker and has packed up some shoes as part of his pregame preparation Saturday.
“It is in the back of mind,” Frazier said about possibly being traded. “It is way there, however, I am not focused on that. I love helping the younger guys out here. I feel like I have earned that spot. I love to help teammates out. Whatever happens, happens. I know if I do get traded, it will likely be a competitive team hoping to win in the playoffs.”
White Sox management hasn’t talked to Frazier about his status.
“No, not at all,” Frazier said. “My job is to go out there and do my job. Just play the game the right way.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.