BALTIMORE — Todd Frazier officially rejoined the Mets on Wednesday, batting cleanup and playing third base following his Monday trade from the Rangers, completing an abrupt about-face for general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and the front office.
Van Wagenen thought highly enough of Frazier’s production and personality that he gave up a player to be named for him minutes before the trade deadline. Last winter, though, when Frazier was a free agent after two seasons with the Mets, did he have any discussions with Van Wagenen, his former agent, about returning?
“The answer to that is no,” said Frazier, who signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Rangers in January.
In his re-debut, Frazier went 0-for-5 and was the only starter without a hit in the Mets’ 9-4 win over the Orioles.
Frazier nonetheless said he was happy to be back. He said he learned of his employer change Monday afternoon, when he was home watching TV with five minutes to go until the deadline and Rangers general manager Jon Daniels called.
“It’s a good surprise,” Frazier said. “I didn’t expect it, but at the same time, it’s very good.”
Manager Luis Rojas said Frazier — who hit .241 with a .702 OPS in 31 games with the Rangers, down from his 2019 marks with the Mets — will see time at third base, first base and DH, especially against lefthanders.
“And his clubhouse role, he’s going to be another leader in there, man,” Rojas said. “You gotta be on your toes with him, because he’ll say something to keep you loose. Good ol’ baseball humor and he makes sense with the guys and everyone has fun around him.”
Catcher Robinson Chirinos and reliever Miguel Castro, who said they too were surprised to be traded to the Mets, also joined their new team Wednesday. Castro tossed a scoreless eighth inning. To make room for that trio, the Mets optioned righthanders Franklyn Kilome and Ariel Jurado and catcher Ali Sanchez to the alternate site.
As the rotation turns
The Mets will start Robert Gsellman on Thursday against the Yankees and Rick Porcello on Friday against the Phillies.
After that is TBA, though a Saturday assignment would mean regular rest for Jacob deGrom, and Seth Lugo is in the mix too.
Porcello and Lugo pitched Sunday in a doubleheader against the Yankees. Rojas said Porcello gets priority over Lugo to stay on his every-five-games routine because the routine is important to him.
“That’s the way we work with him,” Rojas said of Porcello, who has a 6.00 ERA. “That’s the way he operates and it clicks from one start to another.”