Mike DiNovo/USA Today Sports

Are Red Sox bidding against themselves for Todd Frazier?

Rob Bradford
July 17, 2017 - 11:52 am

You need a starting pitcher at the non-waiver trade deadline? Get ready to pay the price. Same thing for diving into the high-end relief pitching market.

But the market for third baseman this time around seems to be a different story.

The Red Sox clearly have some interest in the White Sox' Todd Frazier. It makes sense. He is in the last year of a contract that is paying him $12 million this season, has the kind of power this lineup desperately needs, is a more than serviceable defender and would be a positve addition to a clubhouse that could use another 30-something. And while many will point to a current batting average that sits at .207, and the 71 strikeouts in 81 games, there is more to that story. Since June 1, Frazier has an .869 OPS with nine home runs, with a .361 OPS.

Frazier is an imperfect player, but still seemingly a really good fit.

So, what are the Red Sox waiting for? 

Assuming Dave Dombrowski sees all the aforementioned qualities, the guess is that the Red Sox are monitoring how low the White Sox will go. Most of the time when it comes to trade deadlines, it makes a lot of sense for the dealing team to wait was long as possible to see how much they can get for a rental player everybody know they will be moving on from. There is virtually no chance Chicago has any intention of holding on to Frazier for the final few months.

For instance, remember what the Red Sox did with Andrew Miller? We're talking last second before choosing Baltimore's offer of Eduardo Rodriguez over Detroit's bid.

But the problem for the White Sox would apparently be that there's not a lot of teams (if any) to use as leverage when negotiating with the Red Sox.

Of clubs owning the 17 worst OPS for the third base position are almost all non-contenders, with the Angels (22nd), Yankees (24th) and Red Sox (29th) serving as the only needy teams. And, really, the odds of Los Angeles (46-49) approaching the deadline as buyers seems like a long-shot considering their best hope is leap-frogging five teams in the Wild Card race. The Yankees? Chase Headley isn't an exacty an inspiring choice, hitting .258 with a .712 OPS and four homers. But it's not Pablo Sandoval bad, and Headley does have one more year left on his four-year, $52 million deal after this one.

Here are what the rest of the contenders have at third:

Tampa Bay: Evan Longoria; Minnesota: Miguel Sano; Kansas City: Mike Moustakas; Seattle: Kyle Seager; Texas: Adrian Beltre; Astros: Alex Bregman/Marwin Gonzalez; Washington: Anthony Rendon; Dodgers: Justin Turner; Arizona: Jake Lamb; Cubs: Kris Bryant; Milwaukee: Travis Shaw; Colorado: Nolan Arenado.

Good luck finding somebody seeing as Frazier as an upgrade in that group.

It would seem the Red Sox have a fair amount of leverage here because of the warped supply and demand. If Chicago's price doesn't come down, there are seemingly at least a few other options (such as Jed Lowrie). And that's not even incorporating the temptation to simply ride out Brock Holt and Deven Marrero while seeing if Rafael Devers can be ready.

This is just a reminder that the Red Sox shouldn't feel like they have to pay much at all for Frazier. The trade deadline landscape this time around tells us that.