GLENDALE, Ariz. — Todd Frazier wants to make it clear. He’s happy to be a Chicago White Sox. He has nothing but good things to say about his time with the Reds. And he loves the fans in Cincinnati.
But he wants everyone to know he wanted to remain a Red.
He was fairly shocked when the Reds sent him to the White Sox in the three-way deal with the Los Angles Dodgers on Dec. 16 — less than two weeks after Frazier had met with owner Bob Castellini and president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty at Redsfest.
“Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to get traded,” he said. “You hear all the rumors. I met with Bob and Walt at Redsfest. I took them aside and I asked them basically what I had to do to sign long-term. I said, ‘I’ll take less just sign me long-term.’ I know my market value.
“I thought that was what they wanted to do. Then there was a change of plans. I’m actually very happy that happened.”
Frazier was upset with some comments Jocketty made on the Reds Caravan. In response to a “Why did you trade Todd Frazier?” question, Jocketty, according cincinnati.com, said the Reds made an offer to Frazier, then added:
“They countered with a very large counter, there was a lot of separation — and we just felt that he and (Aroldis) Chapman were two guys, along with (Johnny) Cueto and (Mike) Leake, that we weren’t going to be in position to sign long-term.”
Which offer was fair? It depends on whom you ask?
“They had plenty of opportunities to sign me for a lot less money,” he said. “They didn’t pull the trigger. After my first year, we tried. After my second year, we tried. We’re talking a lot less money. For him to say that ... They came at us with a really low offer. We came back with what we thought it should be.”
Frazier didn’t get into specifics as far as money. The most readily comparable for him is Kyle Seager or Mariners, who signed a seven-year, $100 million deal. The Reds could not afford to come close to that.
Frazier, of course, has followed what the Reds have done.
“That’s none of my business,” he said. “It is what it is. They say they’re trying to rebuild and they got rid of two guys. I’m not trying to dig on anybody. I really like everybody on the other side. I really love everybody. I miss those guys. I still talk to a bunch of them.
“I just don’t understand how you rebuild and get rid of two guys.”
Frazier is referring to the fact that the Reds traded him and closer Aroldis Chapman in the offseason.
In fairness to the Reds, the rebuilding started at trade deadline last season. The club traded Cueto, Leake and Marlon Byrd before the 2015 season ended. And they tried to trade Brandon Phillips in offseason but he rejected the deal.
Despite the fact that Frazier is a little miffed how his time in Cincinnati ended, he knows he’s in better place for his immediate future.
“I’m in a better position to win here,” Frazier said. “(Chicago GM) Rick Hahn did a great job here, picking up some good acquisitions, getting some new faces on the team. They also have guys here who have been doing it a long time with the White Sox.
“We’ve got a lot of winners on this team. That’s all they’re looking to do is get to playoffs and try to win a championship. That’s basically what I’ve been trying to do the last five years.”
Among the new White Sox is former Red Mat Latos, who caused a storm of controversy with some comment he made about this time last year about the Reds.
“I talked to Mat,” Frazier said. “He’s ready to win as well. I think he’s focused. He’s new man coming in with a new team, new goals.”
Frazier is ready to move on as well. His wife, Jackie, had their second child, a girl, two months ago. Kylie joins Blake, who turns two in March. “We’ve got to play that man-on-man defense now,” Frazier said.
Frazier reported to camp early.
“Everything is good,” he said. “I’m getting acclimated here. They’re treating me like one of their own. It’s a special group of guys here so far. It’s been nice. I’ve been here three days. I know some guys. We had Zach Duke and Dioner Navarro, who were Reds.”
“It’s funny. I went to two fans fests this offseason. I went to the Reds, then I went to the White Sox. That was big for me. I met most of the guys there, the coaching staff and everybody. I got a lot more comfortable. I felt a lot more at ease. Coming here (for spring training), it’s been like being one of the guys.
“It’s been fun so far.”