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    Categories BaseballHowie KarpinNew York Mets

Karpin: In Todd They Trust

Todd Frazier will not blow you away with his stats but he brings a lot more to the Mets than just numbers.

Frazier is headed to Queens. Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic was the first to report the free agent third baseman came to terms on a two year, $17 million dollar deal with the Mets, pending a physical.

The Yankees were reportedly in on a potential reunion with Frazier but, apparently and surprisingly, did not want to offer a multi-year contract The Yankees loss is the Mets gain.

When Frazier was acquired from the White Sox right before last year’s trade deadline, he immediately took on a leadership role in a clubhouse that had moved on from the Derek Jeter and the “Core Four” era and featured a number of prominent young players.

With David Wright absent from the team because of the debilitating effect of his injuries, the Mets lacked leadership in the clubhouse and Frazier could be just what the doctor ordered in that regard.

It was Frazier who was the inspiration for the now famous photograph of the Met fan who gave him a “thumbs down” when the Yankees played Tampa Bay at CitiField in the hurricane related, relocated series last September. Frazier used that picture as a sort of a rallying cry as the Yankees went on a playoff run that took them to the 7th game of the American League Championship Series.

The Mets’ fan base seems to be split on this move.

The ones who don’t like the move are citing a couple of factors including his age and his .213 batting average last season. Some fans believe the Mets needed a more athletic type like Eduardo Nunez.

The Mets are an older team but they’re a “win now” team because their minor league system is void of top of the line prospects (my colleague William Coppola wrote in his Scout’s Take column that the Mets farm system is ranked 29th in baseball) at this point in time.

Bottom line is Frazier makes the Mets a better team.

All of a sudden, the Mets infield does not look as hopeless as it did a few days ago. The soon to be 32 year old is not an “average” defender at third base as he was labeled by an anonymous scout who was quoted today by NY Post Mets beat reporter Mike Puma. Frazier has never won a gold glove but he is an “above average” defensive third baseman who can make the spectacular play every now and then.

At the plate, Frazier’s power has been well documented. Even though he has struck out a lot during his career, Frazier has a good eye at the plate and will take the walk. He changed his approach when he came to the Yankees and started to cut down his swing with two strikes which produced more contact. Frazier doesn’t have the ability to carry an offense, but he can be a solid contributor. It’s still going to be up to players such as Yoenis Cespedes to put up a big season if the Mets are to have any shot at the playoffs.

The players will not be the only ones who will benefit from having Frazier as a teammate. New Manager Mickey Calloway will need an ally or two in the clubhouse. Players he can go to and vice versa so that if he needs to get something across to the team, he’ll have the right messenger. Frazier can be that guy.

Frazier, who is a local kid from Toms River, New Jersey, already went through the experience of playing close to home. He was successful with the Yankees last season, he’ll be a good fit with the Mets this season.


Howie Karpin: