SEATTLE — Instead of the day before Thanksgiving like in 2016, this time, Mariners' general manager Jerry Dipoto waited until two days after Thanksgiving to make his first trade of this offseason.
MLB sources confirmed a report from ESPN's Jeff Passan early Saturday morning that the Mariners are acquiring second baseman Adam Frazier from the Padres in exchange for a pair of minor league prospects — left-handed pitcher Ray Kerr and outfielder Corey Rosier.
The Mariners officially announced the trade a few hours later.
“I heard a little bit rumors past couple days that it could happen,” Frazier said via video conference. “I wasn’t expecting it this morning, but (Padres general manager) A.J. Preller called first and let me know what had gone down. Jerry and I had a great talk. I’m excited to be joining and excited to have me. I’m ready to get to work.”
Frazier, who turns 30 on Dec. 14, is coming off his best season in the big leagues. He posted a .305/.368/.411 slash line with 36 doubles, five triples, five homers, 43 RBIs, 10 stolen bases, 48 walks, 69 strikeouts and a 4.0 Fangraphs WAR in 155 games between the Pirates and Padres.
“Adam, to me, is one of the better strike-zone managers in baseball,” Dipoto said in a video news conference. “He’s got great contact skills. In an era where strikeouts are prevalent, he doesn’t strike out. His strikeout rates would be good in any era. He uses the field, he makes contact. He draws about an average-ish walk rate. That combination of events with the ability to hit for a high average, which is generally done as a major league player, results in significant on-base skills.”
With the second base position providing minimal to no production at the plate last season, the Mariners tried hard to acquire Frazier from the Pirates in the weeks leading up to the 2021 MLB trade deadline. He had already been named to the 2021 NL All-Star team and would post a .324/.388/.448 slash line with 28 doubles, four triples, four homers and 32 RBIs in 98 games for the Pirates.
Instead, the Padres interrupted those efforts, sending three players to Pittsburgh for Frazier.
“This dates back to midseason last year,” Dipoto said of the interest in Frazier. “We thought we were at the goal line to acquire Adam at the trade deadline last year, obviously, we missed out. We stayed in touch with the Padres as we headed into the offseason, knowing that they had a pretty robust roster. We just liked the player so we stuck with it through the GM meetings until yesterday when we finally were able to do agree on players and and push it across.”
The Mariners can use Frazier as their everyday second baseman if they choose, though they are more likely to use him in a super-utility role, taking advantage of his ability to play left field and right field and even third base.