With superstars Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt each on the wrong side of the 30 the St. Louis Cardinals are in win now mode. It is imperative that the organization takes advantage of each players remaining prime because we don’t know how much longer each player has left at their respective peak. Next season Arenado will be 32 and Goldy will be 35 meaning the Cardinals have to go for it now. It would be surprising if not shocking to see the team go out and spend big on a Carlos Correa or Trae Turner type, but they do not have to in order to maximize their window of opportunity. There are multiple free agents who can offer the Cardinals significant surplus value on smaller contracts and Adam Frazier is one of those players.
The former Pittsburgh Pirate and Seattle Mariner super utility man is the exact type of player the Cardinals love. He carries low whiff and strikeout percentages with both ranking in the 95th percentile across baseball in 2022 and he can play above average defense all over the diamond. Additionally, over the last 4 seasons the three time All Star has had 3 years where he ranked in the top 5th percentile in strikeout percentage. On top of that to that he posted an xBA of .262 this season which ranked in the 74th percentile. That number was a slight step down for Frazier as in 2021 he posted a .288 xBA which fell in the 10th highest percentile.
In terms of defense Frazier is a true weapon. He has ranked in the 91st percentile or better in outs above average in 3 of the last 4 seasons. The only outlier season, 2021, saw him fall into the 74th percentile which is more than respectable. Last season the Mariners used Frazier at shortstop, second base and all three outfield spots. With Tommy Edman potentially being the starting shortstop in 2023, the Cardinals would only have Brendan Donovan as a super utility player. Although it is more than possible, he will become the team's starting second baseman next season. As a result, they would be in need of someone who can play a few different positions every week. This is where Frazier would enter the equation and if you are concerned about where he would fit there is a simple solution to that. Assuming there are six games in a week, he can play short one game, second another, two in the outfield and then the other two days he would be a bench player or DH. Traditionally though playing time problems work themselves out due to players getting hurt, traded or seeing a downturn in performance over the course of the season.
The main negative associated with Frazier is that he does not do a great job of impacting the baseball. He has been in the bottom 7th percentile in exit velocity in each of the last three seasons whilst finishing in the second lowest percentile in the last two. He also rarely barrels the baseball as his barrel percentage of 1.5 percent ranked in 2nd lowest percentile this season.
Although, you can look past that because of how good of a player Frazier is in multiple other facets of the game. I personally believe that because of his elite bat to ball skills, low strikeout rate, high end defense and his ability to play all over the diamond, Frazier would be a fantastic signing for this Cardinals team.