A little bit ago, some smart guy wrote a piece exhorting the Mets to sign Todd Frazier. The idea was that he would fill a position of need — third base – as well as the leadership void left by the departure of Curtis Granderson and the physical deterioration of David Wright. Well, almost two months later, the Mets listened to that smart guy: Frazier was officially introduced as the Mets’ latest free agent signing. As an aside, who would have thought that the Mets – the cash-strapped, cheap-ownered, shopping-at-K-Mart Mets – would be the most active team in the free agent market in 2018? Rumor has it they’re not done yet, as they may still be on the hunt for a pitcher or two.
Anyway, at Frazier’s meet-and-greet yesterday, Frazier’s abilities were, of course, talked up: good defense at third, lots of power that will play even at spacious Citi Field. His deficits were, of course, minimized: low batting average, many strikeouts. Well, yeah. That’s what these pressers are usually about. New guys steps to the podium, puts his new home whites over his dress shirt and tie, adjusts his cap and talks about how wonderful it is to be with his new team, playing in a city that he loves – or will grow to love eventually – thanks his family, thanks his agent and takes a few questions. The assembled media then ask him about a few light things, before they gorge themselves on team-provided prime rib and booze. It happens all over the country. For his part, Frazier was candid enough when asked about his fellow free agents, momentarily wallowing without contracts in this historically slow market. He seems like he’ll give an honest answer to a legitimate question, rather than spout the usual ballplayer-speak about taking ‘em one at a time, or some such hot air. For this reason, among others, much of that assembled media yesterday were quick to characterize Frazier as a “great clubhouse guy.” He certainly seemed to hit all the right notes: excited to be a Met, tons of respect for Wright and hopes he can return to the lineup soon, would be willing to move positions were that to happen, wants to get back to the playoffs and impart that wisdom to the young guys.
Over here, Frazier seems like the perfect one to take the “clubhouse guy” mantle from Wright and Granderson. In fact, he’s nearly a Granderson clone as a player: low BA, lots of power, lots of strikeouts, very good defense. There has already been much grumbling among the fan base the last couple of days, saying Frazier isn’t that good, that they should have held out and waited for Mike Moustakas’s price to drop or that they didn’t want another ex-Yankee. You might recall it was just four short years ago that the same kind of grumbling was heard about Granderson, whose characteristic slow start had people calling for his scalp in May, but they sure all loved the 25-30 homers he would put up by September. Frazier will weather all this out – he’s a Jersey kid, after all – and do what he needs to do. It will come down to the unquantifiable intangibles as to whether or not Frazier is beloved.
If he leads by example, that’s all the “clubhouse guy” he needs to be.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley.