By Bruce Levine–
GLENDALE, Ariz. (CBS) – For many Chicago White Sox players, it’s not all about the rebuild.READ MORE: Ed’s Driveway: Toyota Sienna
Veterans like third baseman Todd Frazier believe there are many outstanding men left on the roster. Frazier believes this team can compete for something tangible this season.
The 30-year-old Frazier was in camp early after a mixed bag of a season in 2016. He hit 40 home runs and drove in 99 runs — lofty numbers that usually place you with the elite sluggers in the game — but he hit a career-low .225.
Frazier solidified the third base position with solid defense and a professional everyday mentality. Improving on a .767 OPS and using the entire field for best hitting results are his goals this season.
A free agent after the 2017 season, Frazier doesn’t like the talk about the rebuild going on at 35th and Bill Veeck Drive.
“I am hearing a lot about the younger guys throwing the heck out of the ball,” Frazier said Friday. “We will see who will come out of camp to help lead this team and bring us in the right direction.”
All the White Sox position players reported for physicals Friday. The full squad is due to work out Saturday, weather permitting. Like all of the experienced White Sox players, Frazier has heard the rumors about a fire sale of veteran holdovers.READ MORE: 17-Year-Old Boy Shot, Killed In Gresham Neighborhood
The first evidence of that came with two huge deals in December. Ace left-hander Chris Sale and outfielder Adam Eaton were dealt for seven minor-league players within three days during baseball’s Winter Meetings. Since that time, the White Sox front office has been quiet, except for signing left-hander Derek Holland and catcher Geovany Soto.
For now, Frazier chooses to put on the blinders and look at the positives around the White Sox 2017 club.
“Yeah, I really don’t like that word ‘rebuild,’” Frazier said. “We got six guys back for two. That is a lot of guys to get back. These players are known in the minor leagues. We will see how they step up when it’s major-league time. I think we are refueling the team. We might open some eyes this year. You never know.”
Frazier had a dislocated finger he was dealing with late in the offseason. He feels it won’t stop him from getting a full spring training over the next six weeks. A positive mental approach serves him well. He’s always enthusiastic, and that resonates in a good way with many teammates.
“We were off the radar last year as well,” Frazier said about a team that was an American League-best 23-10 through May 8 in 2016. “We still have a lot of guns. We are missing one hitter (Eaton), basically, from last year. We have a healthy core of guys to come in here and pick up the slack. If everybody is healthy and ready to go, we are going to be just fine. It’s just about putting the whole package together.”
The youth movement has lit a fire under some of the players on the club, he added.
“It pushes you a little bit,” Frazier said. “It makes you come out here feeling like you have to fight for a spot.”MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Frost Advisory, Sunny Through The Day
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.