Padres trade Adam Frazier for pair of prospects

Credit: AP Photo

Credit: Getty Images

A.J. Preller made his first big move of the offseason by shipping away 2B Adam Frazier to Seattle in exchange for LHP Ray Kerr and OF Corey Rosier.

Frazier was acquired close to the deadline last season. The move certainly came with some questions. At the time, pitching was the top priority, and this was a redundant acquisition that didn’t address the biggest hole in the roster. The Padres already had Jake Cronenworth and Ha-Seong Kim at second base. Why add another second baseman?

The logic was simple, “there is no harm in adding more good players.” In this case, that logic didn’t pan out. The addition of Frazier created an innings crunch amongst the starters. To get him in the lineup, he started playing in left field or second base. As a result, Eric Hosmer, Tommy Pham, and Wil Myers were flung into uncertain roles.

To make matters worse, Frazier underperformed when he arrived in San Diego. In August, he put up a weak .229/.297/.265 slash with a 58 wRC+. In September/October, he did bounce back, posted in a 124 wRC+ in that time, but it was too late. The book had already been written on his Padre tenure. With the team in their now infamous decline, Frazier was a glaring reminder of a front office in disarray.

In exchange for Frazier, the Padres are taking a chance on two rising prospects in the Mariners organization.

Ray Kerr is a left-handed reliever that start to make a name for himself after the pandemic. Eric Logenhagen from Fangraphs said, “Kerr is a late-bloomer who came into big velo ahead of the pandemic.” He features a fastball, splitter, and slider, although all three offerings come with some inconsistency. The velocity isn’t always a constant, and his splitter and slider are still being developed into big-league pitches.

Kerr spent the 2021 season between Double-A and Triple-A. His value comes in making batters whiff. Last year he struck out roughly 1/3rd of all the batters he faced while walking roughly 12% opponents. If he continues his trend of improvement and works with the Padres’ new pitching staff, he has a good chance of seeing MLB action in 2022.

Corey Rosier will go down as a win for the Mariners scouting department. The left-handed batter was drafted in the 12th round of the 2021 draft and immediately thrived. At the age of 22, he posted a .390/.461/.585 slash with a 171 wRC+. The short season was highlighted by a 15-game hitting streak while only striking out ten times in that span. He even flashed some speed with 12 steals in 31 games.

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So, the big question comes down to “why would the Padres trade Frazier?”. The Padres acquired Frazier at his peak value. The team only had one year of control left over Frazier, and according to cots baseball contracts, he was looking to earn $6.5 million in arbitration. The trade takes that money off the books, eases the innings log jam that was mentioned earlier, and adds a pair of prospects to a farm system that has been rapidly depleted.

This trade also hints at Preller’s plan for the offseason. Frazier was a candidate to replace Tommy Pham as the starting left fielder. Now a free agent like Michael Conforto looks like a good fit to fill that role. But as always, it’s impossible to predict Preller, so only time will tell.

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