The Padres have won one of the most sought-after players in the trading market and bring in second baseman Adam Frazier in a four-player swap with the pirates. Infielder / Outfielder Tucupita Marcano, outfielder Jack Suwinski and right-handed Michell Milano are the prospects traveling to Pittsburgh as part of the deal, and the Pirates, along with Frazier, are sending $ 1.4 million to San Diego.
It is the first big step of the deadline season for Padres General Manager AJ Preller, who is no stranger to lively moves and who urge his team to take his team first to the NL West title and then deeper into October. While a number of pitching injuries would very well result in some arms being added between now and July 30th, Preller did recently showed that a bat was also on his shopping list.
Frazier is enjoying the best season of his seven year MLB career, hitting .324 / .388 / .448 with four home runs over 428 record appearances for the Bucs in 2021. There is some possibility of regression, as Frazier’s .359 BABIP has helped to make up for some very low ones hard contact numbers, and his .337 xwOBA is well below his .368 WOBA. But even this xwOBA is still above average, and Frazier makes up for that lack of hard contact by making a lot of contact in general – in keeping with the Padres’ model as a player who rarely strikes.
Frazier is a left-handed batsman, and while the Padres generally lean more to the right of the plate, Frazier could replace another left-handed batsman in Eric Hosmer. The hot blow Jake Cronenworth could slip off second base to take on Hosmer as regular first baseman, opening the door for Frazier to become the new everyday second baseman. Since Frazier also has experience as a corner outfielder, he could pull into the grass to spell Tommy Pham or Wil Myers, which gives San Diego even more positional flexibility.
With another year to go to arbitration, Frazier can help the Padres both in this year’s playoff race and throughout the 2022 season. Frazier made $ 4.3 million that season, so the $ 1.4 million he sent from Pittsburgh will cover most of his remaining salary for 2021, helping the Padres get under the luxury tax threshold of $ 210 million to stay.
There was little doubt that the reconstruction pirates would move Frazier on time, as its strong season only added to its commercial value. Pittsburgh fans expecting multiple top 100 prospects might be disappointed with the return, though it’s worth noting that Frazier has been more solid than standout throughout his career with an even 100 OPS + and wRC + in his first six Big League seasons added three notable prospects to add GM Ben Cherington’s overhaul of the farm system.
Marcano is the only member of the prospect trio with MLB experience, has appeared in 25 games for San Diego this season and released .485 OPS over 50 record appearances. 21-year-old Marcano, a 2016 international signing from Venezuela, is ranked fifth best candidate in the Padres Deep Farm system by MLB Pipeline, while Baseball America has him in eighth place.
The pirates valued Marcano enough that they were willing to pay the $ 1.4 million to the Padres, Rosenthal reports, while other Frazier bidders like the Mariners did not charge any money for a proposed deal. Hey man adds that the Padres weren’t ready to talk about Marcano when San Diego and Pittsburgh were the Joe Musgrove traded last winter.
There’s a lot to like about the versatile Marcano, who played mostly second base during his professional career, but also spent a lot of time in third base, shortstop and both corner outfield slots. In the worst case, Marcano seems to have a future as a utility man, and he could well become a regular due to his excellent contact skills at the plate. Marcano lacks some strength, and while he does have a plus in speed, BA’s scouting report states that he needs to improve his basic running instincts. Marcano skipped Double-A completely and made his Triple-A debut this year with 0.272 / 0.367 / 0.444 with six home runs in 199 PA.
Neither Suwinski nor Milano made the top 30 rankings in the Padres prospectuses for Pipeline or Baseball America, but both youngsters got on the map in 2021. Suwinski was a 15th round pick for the Pirates in 2016 and hadn’t hit much in his first professional seasons before looking for a .269 / .398 / .551 slashline and 15 home runs over 267 PA at Double-A San Antonio. As noted by Matt Eddy of BA, Suwinski, did this despite scoring in a pitcher friendly home stadium, although he will be moving to a different pitcher friendly location in the Pirates’ Double A branch in Altoona. Suwinski has experience in all three outfield positions and is only a few days before his 23rd birthday.
21-year-old Milano has a 6.11 ERA over 94 1/3 innings in the San Diego farm system and comes high-A-ball this season. Miliano has given up many hits (84) and, disturbingly, almost as many walks (78) in his four seasons, but the Pirates were certainly intrigued by his ability to miss bats. The right-hander has a 31.74% strikeout rate among the minors, and that number includes an absurd 44.44% rate over 25 2/3 innings at A-level Lake Elsinore this year.