Mutual interest exists between the Yankees and free agent Todd Frazier, but a return to the Bronx is looking less and less likely for the 31-year-old third baseman, reports NJ.com.
Despite the acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton and continuing trade discussions with the Pirates for SP Gerrit Cole, the Yankees hope to get below the $197 million payroll luxury tax threshold for 2018. Doing so would reset the team's luxury tax penalty in 2019, which currently hits them at an extra 50 cents on each dollar it spends beyond the threshold.
"At the end of the day, I just want to play baseball," Frazier said Dec. 16. "I would love to play for the Yankees. I would love to play for any team. Like I said, we've been talking. My agency has been doing a heck of a job talking to a lot of teams for me. We've got a lot of great talks and hopefully at the end, something comes to fruition soon."
Frazier's leadership and locker room presence were universally praised by the team during their playoff run last season. He was acquired from the White Sox along with RPs David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle in a seven-player deal on July 18.
The Toms River, NJ native hit .222/.365/.423 with 11 homers and 32 RBIs in 66 games with the Yankees and .213/.344/.428 with 27 home runs and 76 RBIs in 147 games overall. Frazier has gone deep 131 times since the start of 2014.
Frazier is seeking a multi-year deal and has stated he wants to return to New York, specifically with the Yankees. However, the Yankees don't want to lock him down at third base with top prospects on the verge of making their debuts.