For all that has gone wrong for the Cincinnati Reds in 2014, virtually everything has gone right for their third baseman Todd Frazier. His outstanding first half led to his selection to the NL All-Star Game, and he managed to find himself in the finals of the Home Run Derby.
Frazier was coming off a frustrating 2013 season in which he hit just .234 in his first full year as the Reds’ everyday third baseman. He did hit 19 homers with 73 RBIs last year, but his struggles at the plate with chasing too many pitches outside of the strike zone put Frazier in a pressure cooker at the hot corner heading into this year.
Unlike teammates Jay Bruce and Zack Cozart who both have failed miserably in 2014 to make adjustments at the plate, Frazier did what he needed to do to the extent that he has now earned the kind of contract extension consideration that could make sense for the Reds to negotiate. The Reds are probably already way too deep into a payroll corner over the next few years, but buying out two or three of Frazier’s free agency years now would be a smart move if he continues to perform at his 2014 level.
The 28-year-old Frazier stands to enter his first year of arbitration eligibility in 2015. His earnings for next year should be higher than the $3.15 million fellow third baseman David Freese received for the 2013 season after coming off a solid year of 20/79/.293. Freese made just over $5 million for 2014 in his second year of arbitration eligibility.
Since impact third basemen are hard to find, the Reds have to consider making Frazier a rich man sooner rather than later if they believe he can be the top player at his position in a few years — even though he would be 32 years old heading into free agency in 2018.