The Royals have signed second-baseman Adam Frazier to a one-year deal, according to Jon Heyman.
Update: Anne Rogers reports Frazier has a MLB deal worth $4.5 million.
Source: #Royals in agreement with 2B/OF Adam Frazier on a one-year, $2 million deal with an $8.5 million mutual option for 2025. It includes a $2.5 million buyout, making the deal a $4.5 million guarantee. Deal is pending physical.— Anne Rogers (@anne__rogers) January 27, 2024
Frazier will be 32 years old at the start of the season and is a left-handed hitter. Last year he played for the Baltimore Orioles and slashed .240/.300/.396/.696 with 13 home runs. Despite having a reputation as an above-average defender, many statistics suggest he cratered defensively last year to become one of the worst second basemen in the sport. Early predictions are that he will become the new starter at second base for the Royals. However, there doesn’t appear to be room on the bench for Michael Massey who would then have to be demoted to AAA Omaha.
That is, of course, unless the Royals are on the verge of trading Massey. However, that doesn’t necessarily make sense because they were very similar players last year and project to be similar players this year (ZIPS has Frazier projected to 1.2 fWAR and Massey to 1.3.) While we don’t know how much the Royals are going to be paying Frazier he seems unlikely to have broken their bank for several reasons. If a team was given a choice between trading anything of value for Massey and signing Frazier, it seems likely they would have simply signed Frazier themselves. Trade rumors similarly abounded when Kansas City signed Hunter Renfroe and nothing ever happened.
Perhaps the Royals intend to start him at third base and trade Maikel Garcia, but that would significantly diminish their infield defense, if not necessarily their offense, and since we already know that a starting pitcher trade is more likely to demand Vinnie Pasquantino than Garcia, it seems like the Royals would be trading for that reliever they have allegedly coveted despite the fact that their bullpen options currently run at least 12 deep.
The Frazier signing continues the Royals’ pattern this off-season of signing older position players that resemble younger players already in the system - Renfroe vs MJ Melendez, Garrett Hampson vs Samad Taylor and/or Nick Loftin.) Their moves on the pitching side have made a lot of sense and likely drastically improved the roster, but the position player signings have caused a lot of head-scratching. Still, Spring Training is coming soon and, with it, hopefully, some answers to these questions of what the Royals’ plans for these players are.