More trades are coming. White Sox players know it. Todd Frazier could be next.
Eager to begin the second half on Friday, White Sox players paid their respects to now former teammate Jose Quintana ahead of an afternoon workout. White Sox players described the difficulty in moving on from Quintana, one of the most popular players in the clubhouse because of his easygoing persona off the field and dogged nature on it.
They also know another popular teammate (Frazier) could be gone soon. Frazier’s stock has risen the past six weeks with improved production and a field of options thinned out by parity. Perhaps his strongest suitor is the Boston Red Sox, who are moving on from Pablo Sandoval. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski announced Friday morning that Sandoval had been designated for assignment. One baseball source said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Boston move quickly to fill its void at third.
“In some ways, Frazier is the best option out there,” the source said, noting “the combination of limited financial commitment and productivity.”
“Knowing Dave, it will be sooner than later.”
White Sox players expect that Quintana’s deal is only the tip of the iceberg as a number of talented individual pieces remain. White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu has the same feeling about some of his current teammates as the club’s rebuild has reached a cruising altitude of 32,000 feet. What began in earnest with the December trades of Chris Sale and Adam Eaton has only gained more elevation over the past two months. The White Sox made a bold move in May when they spent $52 million to sign 19-year-old Cuban outfielder Luis Robert. Thursday’s blockbuster with the Cubs saw the White Sox rid themselves of their last enormous chip when they dealt Quintana.
“I won’t be surprised if there are a few more moves,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “We are buying into this process and you know that’s going to be a few situations in there. But this is a process.”
It’s a process general manager Rick Hahn is eager to continue. Hahn addressed the media again on Friday and noted his club is still in the first stage of its rebuild and wants to continue accumulating talent.
“We are very much open for business,” Hahn said.
Where that leaves Frazier, David Robertson and a series of other players is in a state of limbo. Quintana told Hahn on Thursday he had been bothered by the constant trade rumors that involved him since last December. Try as they may, White Sox players will have to continue to focus on anything but the constant chatter that will surround many of them until at least July 31 and perhaps the Aug. 31 waiver trade deadline.
From his own experience in Cincinnati, Frazier said on Saturday that he suspected things could be a little weird in the White Sox clubhouse when assets started to get traded. He also noted that he recently had improved at deflecting those distractions — thinking about trades or his impending free agency — and thought it helped him overall.
Since June 1, Frazier has a .923 OPS in 142 plate appearances with nine homers and 21 RBIs. The market for available third baseman has also been reduced by the recent hot play of the Kansas City Royals, who appear to no longer have interest in moving All-Star Mike Moustakas.
The Red Sox are in serious need of someone to man the hot corner with Sandoval DFA’d. Boston has a future third baseman in top-10 prospect Rafael Devers. But, Devers hasn’t yet played above Double-A and the Red Sox don’t sound as if they’re intent upon rushing him to the majors as they did last season with Yoan Moncada.
Those factors could make Frazier, who’s owed a little less than $6 million the rest of the season, extremely attractive to first-place Boston. Frazier, who told a trade knock-knock joke in his media session to “keep things light”, said he hasn’t recently spoken with Hahn about his situation.
“Now I’m like, control what you can control,” Frazier said last week. “Same thing about being traded, too. There’s nothing you can do about it until that time comes around. So just keep on working hard, keep understanding what you’re good at and keep working on the things you’re not good at even harder.
“Goodbyes are tough, but you understand it’s a business.”