At 24 years old it’s hard to call Clint Frazier a prospect anymore. His inability to make the Yankees roster might portend a trade for the outfielder.
Clint Frazier had a golden opportunity to become the starting left fielder for the Yankees this spring. Instead, Brett Gardner trounced him in the head-to-head competition. In the end, Frazier couldn’t even do enough to make the big league club as the team’s fourth outfielder.
That’s precisely what Frazier deserves after hitting .143 in 18 games this spring. General manager Brian Cashman and the rest of the Yankees’ higher-ups insisted they only wanted to see him get back to playing baseball after suffering from concussions last season, but they also wanted to see a player who looked capable of helping the Yankees this season.
As the Yankees made their final cuts Frazier wasn’t even in consideration for a roster spot. Most people thought Tyler Wade would break camp as the team’s backup outfielder until a late trade for Mike Tauchman changed things. Now Frazier will start the season in AAA.
Undoubtedly, Yankees officials will tout this as a good thing. The party line will be that Frazier needs regular at-bats to get back to where he was before his concussion issues. That’s certainly possible. Assuming that he’d be ready to go after one healthy offseason was probably a bit too optimistic.
The truth is that the organization is starting to lose patience with Frazier. He’s not an 18-year-old flashing tools in Spring Training. He’s a 24-year-old who should be making his case for a spot in the starting lineup at this stage of his career. This spring didn’t represent his last chance with the Yankees, but he really damaged his stock.
That’s why the Yankees will certainly listen to offers for Frazier as the season progresses. It’s easy to envision a scenario where another team wants to take a flyer on a guy who was once a very highly-touted prospect. It’s also easy to imagine the Yankees taking another team up on their offer. Cashman and company could look to offload Frazier for a younger prospect with more upside.
Remember, Estevan Florial was having an excellent spring until a broken wrist forced him out of the lineup. He’s exactly the sort of toolsy prospect that the Yankees want to build their farm system and ultimately their major league roster around. If he’s already better than Frazier there’s no real reason to keep the enigmatic redhead around.
In the end, Frazier needs to get off to a hot start in AAA if he wants to solidify his future with the Yankees. If he doesn’t show signs of promise soon, he’s going to become trade bait for Cashman. That might be the best thing for the Yankees even if it’s disappointing for Frazier.