White Sox’ Frazier, Robertson stay close to their phones
The anticipated trades of Todd Frazier and David Robertson are not packing the same punch for suspense for the White Sox as Jose Quintana’s did while he was on the block.
Because of Frazier’s and Robertson’s contracts, the significantly lighter expected returns rule the day.
It’s believed the Sox and Red Sox, who hooked up on the Chris Sale blockbuster deal that got the Sox’ rebuild rolling full speed ahead in December, began talking about Frazier in earnest during the weekend after Sox general manager Rick Hahn moved Quintana for the Cubs’ top two prospects and two others.
Frazier has about $5 million left on his contract, which expires after the season, sends him into free agency and makes him expendable. The rebuilding Sox would probably take one mid-level prospect in return while pushing to pay as little as they can of what’s left on his deal. The Red Sox, who are taking a $49 million hit on third baseman Pablo Sandoval’s contract after designating him for assignment last week (while underscoring the need for another third baseman), want to keep the cost for Frazier as minimal as possible.
The feeling around baseball is that it’s a matter of when, not if, Frazier winds up in Boston, even though the Red Sox, leading the American League East, might also be considering the Marlins’ Martin Prado and the Padres’ Yangervis Solarte as solutions at third. But Frazier, 31, has a home-run swing built for the Green Monster in Fenway Park, plays sound defense and would offer leadership and chemistry pluses for the Red Sox’ clubhouse.
Quintana admitted to being affected somewhat by the trade rumors, and Robertson and Frazier have done everything in their power to stay focused on their jobs while staying in close contact with their agents.
“Everybody understands if they do get traded now, it’s to a team that hopefully is in the mix to be in the playoffs,’’ Frazier said this past weekend.
The Yankees also reportedly are interested in Frazier, but to play first base. They are likely even more interested in Robertson, who pitched for them from 2008 to ’14 before signing a four-year, $46 million contract with the Sox that pays him $13 million this season and $14 million next year.
The Yankees, like the Dodgers or any one of numerous teams looking for bullpen help, could use Robertson in any of the last three innings. Robertson is probably having his best season with the Sox, but the Sox — who signed top Cuban outfield prospect Luis Robert for $26 million and must pay a tax of equal amount — want to eat as little of Robertson’s contract as possible, and trade negotiations could be getting sticky because of the money.
The bullpen-needy Nationals, long thought to be a potential landing spot for Robertson, acquired left-hander Sean Doolittle and right-hander Ryan Madson from the Athletics on Sunday.
With Quintana, Frazier and Robertson on the trade block for weeks, the Sox have been scout magnets wherever they go. The Yankees and Red Sox were among the teams represented Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field, where the Sox lost for the seventh time in the last eight games.
Trading Frazier and Robertson would potentially accelerate the Sox’ loss rate, a deflating development in the clubhouse but a positive trend toward a higher pick in the 2018 draft. For a rebuilding team, that’s not all bad.
In the battle for the No. 1 pick, the Sox have the third-worst record in baseball behind the Phillies and Giants.
Since their 13-10 start, the Sox are 25-42 in May, June and July (a .373 winning percentage) going into their game against the Dodgers and three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw on Tuesday at Guaranteed Rate Field.
NOTES: Miguel Gonzalez is scheduled to make his first start Tuesday since going on the disabled list with inflammation in his right shoulder June 18. Gonzalez is 1-8 with a 6.79 ERA in his last nine starts.
◆ Carlos Rodon, who will start Wednesday, had the Sox’ last quality start July 3 in Oakland.
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