The Cleveland Indians are reportedly talking with their cross-state rival Cincinatti Reds for a trade involving their third baseman, Todd Frazier. According to USA Today's Bob Nightingale, the two teams are currently in discussions, which at the Winter Meetings could mean anything from talking face to face to they had lunch together to they are infrequently texting back and forth. Either way, this could be exciting.
Frazier is just the kind of third baseman the Indians need right now. He is a solid defender, and an above-average hitter with great power. Last season he hit a career-high 35 home runs while slashing .255/.309/.498 in 157 games for the Reds. He does have some considerable splits hitting home versus away, however. At home, in the hitter friendly confines of the Great American Ballpark, he has a career .270/.333/.501 slash, while away he has hit for .244/.309/.426. Even if the Indians only get something towards the lower end of that spectrum, it could still be a sizable upgrade over the combination of Giovanny Urshela and Chris Johnson. And, unlike other third base options that the Indians have considered, Frazier comes with a great glove as well.
The Indians and Reds make interesting trade partners because the Reds are in a full-on rebuild mode. Most of the teams the Tribe have been working with are in a similar position of trying to win now (which is why they are after Carlos Carrasco or Danny Salazar), but the Indians could try and sway the Reds with one of their prospects. Top prospects Bradley Zimmer or Clint Frazier could be on the table, as well as pitcher Rob Kaminsky. Who knows, the Reds could even still try for Salazar as he has another four years of control, depending on when they expect to win again.
At best, the Indians would hope to get two full seasons out of Frazier as he is heading into Arbitration 3 in 2017. It is unlikely they would be able to re-sign him after that, so they could also consider flipping him halfway through 2017 if things do not work out this coming season.
UPDATE [12/9 4:28 p.m.]: According to multiple sources, it does not look this trade will be happening any time soon.