The reviews from Orioles fans on the Adam Frazier signing can be described most succinctly as mixed.
Arguments that he’s an upgrade and sensible pickup are countered mostly by one word:
As in, why pay $8 million for Frazier when the Orioles can play Ramón Urías, Terrin Vavra and Jordan Westburg at second base?
All three of them could do it in 2023, but the Orioles wanted a left-handed bat. Urías and Westburg don’t check that box. Vavra is in the early stages of his major league career, though it’s an impressive start with his .340 on-base percentage in 40 games.
Frazier can move to the corner outfield. He can be flipped at the deadline. It isn’t a long-term deal.
You know what else it isn’t? Redundant with Rougned Odor.
I’ve seen that comparison.
Frazier is a high-contact guy with limited power. Odor can hit the ball 500 feet, but he strikes out a lot and has a career .287 on-base percentage. Frazier is a plus defender at second base who has twice been named a finalist for a Gold Glove. Odor registered a minus-0.6 dWAR with the Orioles, per Baseball-Reference.com, a minus-0.5 outs above average, per Statcast, and a minus-9 in defensive runs saved and minus-2.9 ultimate zone rating, per FanGraphs.com.
Frazier was an All-Star as recently as 2021. Odor has never been selected.
So yes, identical.
Westburg is expected to make his major league debut in 2023, which could pair him with Frazier, who also attended Mississippi State. Westburg was the 30th overall pick in the 2020 draft.
“We’ve met a couple times back in Starkville,” Frazier said during Friday’s video call with local media. “I’ve watched him play a good bit when he was at Mississippi State. A very exciting player. Got a lot of tools, and he’s fun to watch.
“Look forward to working with him in spring and picking his brain a little bit and helping him out and just working together.”
No matter who’s playing second base, he won’t have to hit against the shift or move in the field to accommodate it.
“I don’t think it’s going to be as drastic for guys like myself,” Frazier said. “I think it’s more that big lefty, the pull lefties, that’s going to affect them a lot. But at the same time, the biggest change will be not allowing the second baseman to go to short right field, because I think that’s going to allow some other balls to get through.
“If you look at a lot of things the last couple seasons, the shortstop maybe up the middle and on the shortstop side, and the second baseman’s playing a little pull. I don’t think it’s going to be a huge difference. I know defensively it will be, you’re going to have to cover a little more ground, but at the same time you’re still in the same area, maybe you have to show a little more quickness getting to balls, just from not having the range from being in short right field.
“I don’t know. Should be a little more athletic and hopefully at the plate have a few more balls sneak through.”
Note: The Orioles designated first baseman Lewin Díaz for assignment to make room for reliever Mychal Givens, who signed a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2024. The deal was announced this morning.
Díaz was claimed off waivers from the Pirates on Dec. 2. The Pirates had claimed him from the Marlins.
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