All 30 teams had to meet a deadline on Friday to protect eligible prospects from the Rule 5 draft, causing a flurry of roster moves around the league. Included in those moves was longtime SF Giants outfield target Clint Frazier being designated for assignment by the New York Yankees.
Longtime SF Giants outfield target hits waivers
Few rumors of substance connected Frazier to the Giants but he was a popular target among the fanbase and members of the media including Larry Krueger of KNBR.
It seemed as if Frazier came up at an inopportune time with the Yankees given that they had a glut of outfielders including Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, and Brett Gardner. The right-handed bat struggled to get an extended look, but when he did play, he generally produced positive results at the plate.
Frazier was originally drafted in the first round of the 2013 draft by the Cleveland Guardians out of Loganville High School in Loganville, Georgia. As a first round draftee, he was frequently considered one of the top prospects in baseball while climbing through the minor league ranks.
However, his time in the Guardians organization abruptly came to an end when he was packaged along with three other prospects to the Yankees in a move that sent lefty reliever Andrew Miller to Cleveland at the 2016 trade deadline.
The 27-year-old debuted with the Yankees in the following year, registering a .715 OPS with four homers in 142 plate appearances as a rookie. Since 2017, Frazier has recorded a .239/.327/.434 line (104 OPS+) with 29 home runs, 97 RBI, and 100 runs scored across 807 plate appearances. This includes a 10.5 percent walk rate against a 29.1 percent strikeout rate.
His best season came in 2020 where he posted a .905 OPS with eight home runs in 160 plate appearances. Despite these positive results, Frazier sustained a worrisome concussion in 2018 and the symptoms have lingered for years.
The symptoms have been so severe that he has been placed on the injured list over the past couple of seasons as a result. The concussion is likely a product that contributed to his struggles in 2021 where he was limited to just 66 games with the Yankees.
The fact that he was placed on waivers could be an indication of how the Yankees feel about Frazier's long-term health prospects. That said, he does have an option remaining and offers plenty of upside when healthy.
The Giants currently have the lowest waiver priority, so it seems unlikely that the power-hitting outfielder would even make it to them on waivers. Any team that puts in a claim will have to have some level of confidence that Frazier can recover from the concussion. Nevertheless, the most important thing for Frazier is to focus on fully recovering from a scary injury.