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The Yankees should consider bringing Todd Frazier back in 2018

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Has Todd Frazier played his way into the team’s future?

League Championship Series - Houston Astros v New York Yankees - Game Three Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

When the Yankees swung that blockbuster trade with the White Sox in July, Todd Frazier was clearly the third piece in the deal. In reality, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle stood out as the headliners. Sure, the Yankees needed a first baseman, but did Frazier actually solve that problem? He appeared to be an incremental upgrade, and that’s all. It wasn’t difficult to write him off as the tack-on piece in the trade.

For the first month or so, that appeared the case. From July 19th through August 13th, Frazier hit .227/.352/.360 with three home runs. Across 91 plate appearances, that added up to a 97 wRC+. Those are serviceable numbers, but that’s about it. If anything, his bat played just below average for a third baseman.

Frazier turned it on after that, though. From August 14th through the end of the season, he posted a better .218/.373/.462 with eight home runs. He combined to manage a 125 wRC+ over 150 plate appearances. That’s Frazier’s calling card. He doesn’t hit for average, but he makes up for it with a prodigious power output.

In fact, one can see how Frazier increased his hard contact rate around this point. When a batter has a spike in the quality of contact, that’s a good sign. When that’s paired with a dropping groundball percentage, that indicates he’s completely locked in.

After a strong finish to the regular season, Frazier carried that success over into the playoffs. He came up with big hits at several points across the postseason. He drove in runs in Game Five of the ALDS, as well as Game Two of the ALCS. Plus, who could forget this magnificent home run against Charlie Morton last night.

In short, Frazier has been a key piece for the Yankees during their second half and postseason run. He also has a reputation as an A-plus clubhouse guy. The team bonded over his merchandise on a flight, and that’s not to mention the thumbs down movement; he basically started that. Frazier’s added heart to this Yankees team. That can’t go under-appreciated.

It’s no secret that Frazier would welcome a reunion with the Yankees after this season. “I would love to have this challenge and I would love to play for this city for the rest of my life,” he told NJ.com. “I think it would be awesome.” The Toms River, New Jersey native grew up a Yankees fan. Playing for the Bombers represents a childhood dream come true. The fact that he’s had success since arriving must add to his desire to return.

The question then comes down to if the Yankees are willing to bring him back. Given the team’s desire to sneak under the luxury tax threshold, I assume they’re steering away from big contracts. If Frazier is amenable to a team-friendly deal, then the Yankees could keep a trusted bat in their lineup. At the very least, they should think long and hard about it.