In past off-seasons, Bruce, Swarzak and Frazier could have earned more despite being in their 30s and not among the game’s elite talents. Frazier, who will turn 32 next week, hit .213 and struck out 125 times in 147 games between the White Sox and the Yankees in 2017, but he also smashed 27 home runs, provided solid defense, and was a well-liked teammate.
“Everybody can see what the price was and where I should have been,” he said. “But the expectations — it’s like in baseball: You expect yourself to hit .300 and you hit .280, that’s still a pretty good year.”
Frazier, who is from Toms River, N.J., was not complaining about his deal; he thanked Alderson and the owner Jeff Wilpon for signing him. But he admitted that the off-season was frustrating. Chatty and energetic by nature, Frazier asked his agent, Brodie Van Wagenen of Creative Artists Agency, for frequent updates.
“Every day, I was: ‘What’s going on? What do I have to do? Do I have to talk to some G.M.s? You want me to fly somewhere?’” Frazier said. “Just trying to be funny about it.”
On the many free agents still unsigned, Frazier added, “I feel for these guys.”
Van Wagenen made waves last week when, in a statement, he called the increasing anger among players “a rising tide” and that a “fight was brewing” over the slow off-season despite the sport’s economic prosperity. He even suggested a boycott of spring training as an option.
Van Wagenen commended the Mets for signing players — “regardless of whether you think the prices are high or low” — and trying to field a good team.
“Players are emotional right now,” he said. “The conversation is happening behind the scenes and out in front. The game has enjoyed too much prosperity for the two sides not to get along. I think everybody is hopeful that we will be able to going forward.”
The Mets acted on Frazier because they liked his power, defense and stability at a position that has been in flux, particularly as the health of their captain, David Wright, remains uncertain. Frazier relished the chance to remain in the New York area and to please his 3-year-old son, Blake.
While putting him to sleep two weeks ago, Frazier said his son volunteered that he had become a Mets fan and that he wanted his upcoming birthday party to be in the team’s colors.
“Two weeks later, I’m a Met now,” Frazier said. “I’m like, ‘Buddy, give me some Pick-6 numbers so we don’t have to live in New Jersey anymore.’”