Pirates Trade All Star Second Baseman Adam Frazier to San Diego

7-25-21 – By Gary Morgan

This has been building for quite some time. Not this deal in particular, but the fact a deal would likely get done itself sending Adam Frazier out of Pittsburgh.

Today the Pirates finalized a deal with San Diego for two prospects and a borderline major league player.

Tucapita Marcano is the MLB-ish player, he’s a second baseman and outfielder who has just touched the big leagues this season. He is the Padres 5th ranked prospect on their site but Fangraphs lists him as number 10. His numbers have been largely middling in his minor league career. The left handed hitter only has 150 at bats above Single A so to think he jumps right to the Big club might be questionable.

He’s seen to have a good eye and all of his scouting reports sound like you’re describing Adam Frazier to be honest, thing is, even if he turns out to be close to that, it would be like picking up Adam Frazier about five years ago. If you’re into this stuff Fangraphs also lists him as a 40+ FV prospect.

Next up is outfielder Jack Suwinski is a left handed AA outfielder with an emerging power tool. Nothing really stands out in his tool set to me. He could wind up being a decent ball player and lord knows the team needs outfield depth but in a pretty deep system he’s not in their top 50. There’s just not much to say here, again he has all of 260+ at bats above Single A. On the surface though, this isn’t a Smith-Njigba type that is going to look like a steal. As I dig in on the advanced stats, yeah, don’t like what I see. Suwinski also doesn’t have an FV listing on Fangraphs, typically meaning it’s south of 25+, aka, not really on the radar. If you really want a positive it might be his BABIP

The Pirates also got a Single A back end of the bullpen right hander named Michell Miliano, Fangraphs has him at 35+ FV and as a reliever he could probably move if he does reasonably well through the system. Ranked as the Padres number 45 prospect, it’s hard to see him as much more than a lottery ticket. His curve ball and fast ball are ranked above average but control is lacking a bit which sounds like a ton of guys who throw a fastball and curve.

The Pirates also sent 1.4 million dollars to help the Padres avoid going over the Luxury tax threshold and to get a better prospect return, which blows my mind because this isn’t a terrific return.

Goodbye, Good Luck, and Thanks for What You Did Here Adam.

Adam was drafted in the 6th round back in 2013 and since 2016 has been a consistent presence for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The two time Gold Glove finalist at second base was having a career season, nearly 50 points higher than his best previous result and with one more year of arbitration he was likely to be moved this year.

Making his first All Start appearance this season Adam will join a Padres team that will use his versatility to make their lineup stronger as they make a push for the playoffs.

For the Pirates, the decision really needed to be made this season. Either extend him or move him, but as I’ve described to you before, Adam was not likely to take just a couple years, and at his age the Pirates were unlikely to give him enough length.

He will be missed, and the Pirates don’t really have a great solution for playing second base. They could perhaps use Phillip Evans, Rodolfo Castro, maybe it’s finally time to take the water wings off Cole Tucker. Dee Strange-Gordon could be the automatic call up as well.

Let’s be honest though, nobody is going to do what Frazier has this year, and nobody is going to fill his shoes in the field either.

He will be missed.

We’re going to hear people say he will never hit like this again in a season, or he never did, but all that matters in the moment is he currently is having a sensational season and I hope he has all the success he deserves.

My Take

In short, I’m underwhelmed.

Tossing in cash was probably to pry away Marcano. He’s a good prospect, but not one I would have coveted as much as it seems Ben Cherington has. This had all the markings of unfinished business from the Joe Musgrove deal.

Just conjecture on my part but it smells a lot like they really wanted this guy in that deal and this time there wasn’t going to be a deal without him. Ken Rosenthal reported that during the Musgrove negotiations the Padres were unwilling to discuss Marcano, so this would seem to back up my assertion.

The other two, meh. The young reliever Michell Miliano probably has the best shot of the two to contribute but my biggest concern is every one that was returned in this deal will require Rule 5 protection, something I already thought the team would struggle with as we move forward into the off season.

As an analyst, this doesn’t do anything for me. At this point in the rebuild, I’d rather return one 45+ FV type or one nailed on MLB top 100 player than three like this. It’s time to start prioritizing quality over quantity.

As a fan, underwhelmed is a nice way to say it. I’d prefer taking him to the end of the season than pull the trigger on this deal. Again, my belief that I’d rather have one good prospect than the return they procured makes me feel I could have waited on this.

It has been known that Adam was going to be moved for quite some time, but if this was the return for him, I shudder to think of the return for Tyler Anderson. Sometimes you gotta take the sage advice of Mr. Kenny Rogers and know when to hold ’em.

Bottom line, this trade goes down in history as Marcano does. If he makes it and turns into the piece Ben and company seem to think he will, its a win. If for no other reason than they’ve exchanged 1 year of control for 5 years. If he doesn’t, or winds up being an Erik Gonzalez type, its not a good deal.

Time always tells, but on the surface again, this isn’t this front office’s best work. Closer to the Bell deal than Taillon or Joe.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

3 thoughts on “Pirates Trade All Star Second Baseman Adam Frazier to San Diego

  1. Agreed that the trade hinges on Marcano but everything I am reading so far is that he is a AAAA infielder at 21 and if he can make the jump then this trade is already a win with the years-of-control factor. The other two are lottery tickets but you can’t win if you don’t play but that will be determined in the long term. In the short term, the question to me is whether 45+ players will be traded in this next week? With all the uncertainty of 2022 and the CBA, I am not sure if blue chip prospects are going to be traded for rentals and we will have to see if BC got an underwhelming return comparatively or not.

    Thanks for all of your awesome analysis!

    Liked by 1 person

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