It is impossible to determine the winner of a trade in the first three years of the deal, due to the law of averages and smaller sample sizes. However, the Reds have certainly gained an early advantage in the first season of the Todd Frazier deal.
Sure, initially on paper, it looked like the Reds were taken to the cleaners…or at least did not get the value they could have for the All-Star third baseman. However, over the second half of the season, it is difficult to find anyone who has been better than Jose Peraza and Scott Schebler, south of Joey Votto and Billy Hamilton.
The two look to be pieces that can be plugged into the rebuild and pieces that are big league ready right now.
First, it is difficult to say that Frazier would be hitting just over the Mendoza line in Great American Ball Park. Frazier does have 39 home runs and 96 RBI through Monday night, which are also numbers that would likely be inflated further. That said, his OPS and what he brings to the table is comparable to Adam Duvall. So for the most part, the Reds have filled the Frazier void in the lineup with a different trade.
Additionally, Frazier is 30 years old and is making $12 million this season. There is no argument that he does not fit in the rebuild.
On the flip side, after slow starts, Peraza and Schebler have shown that they can be major parts to the rebuild.
Schebler is a versatile outfielder, who has the speed, range, and arm to play all three outfield positions. In his first stint in the big leagues, to begin the season, Schebler struggled by going 12-for-64 with seven extra base hits.
After killing the ball for nearly two months in Triple-A, Schebler rejoined the Reds in August. Outside of a dramatic walk-off home run against the Cardinals in his first game, Schebler struggled tremendously with soft contact and strikeouts in the first couple weeks.
However, when he got in a groove, there have been few better. Even with the slow start, Schebler still hit .258 with six home runs in August. He was even better in September, and hit .326 with a .826 OPS. With this run, Schebler has penciled himself into right field for the Reds in 2017.
On the opposite side of the field, Peraza has also shoved the door open. He was on the roster for over a month, and was only seeing around one start per week leading folks to question why. Peraza has not helped that movement by showing what he can do when he gets consistent playing time.
Even as good as Schebler has been, Peraza has been even better. The main piece of the trade, Peraza has been questioned in the past by scouts at the plate and led to some fan doubt in his ability after the deal. However, since coming over, Peraza has simply been good.
He displayed the same ability at Triple-A to hit and get on base as he has thus far at the big league level. He also creates a nice one-two punch in speed with Billy Hamilton in the lineup. Peraza has stolen 20 bases in his brief big league career in 29 attempts.
The numbers reflect the playing time as well. Through the first four months of the season, not much flies off the page for Peraza. However, once he got on the field, he posted OPS numbers of .931 in August and .808 in September. The numbers also tell the story that Peraza has shown some sneaky power that it wasn’t entirely known that he possesses.
The biggest question for Peraza is whether he can stick at shortstop. The Reds seem confident that he can, and as long as he hits, Peraza has a place on the field.
The Reds also acquired Brandon Dixon in the deal, who spent the entire 2016 season with Double-A Pensacola. When he was good, he was really good. Dixon hit .342 in 22 games in May with seven home runs, and .358 in 25 games in August with three home runs. However, he did not hit over .241 in a single month, and was over .200 in just one more.
However, when he was bad, he really struggled. For the season, Dixon hit .260 with a .749 OPS. While it is unclear if Dixon will even get more than a cup of coffee at the big league level, he also has the ability to get hot and if he puts it all together, there is skill there at the plate.
Even if Dixon does not succeed at the big league level, at this point, the Frazier deal has to be looked at as a win-win for each side at very worst. The Reds got some nice, young pieces that fit into exactly what they are looking at with the rebuild.
They received versatile players who simply get on base and have speed when they do. Frazier is going to hit home runs, but he was not the answer long-term in Cincinnati.
Only time will tell, but for now, the Frazier trade looks solid for the Reds.