At this time last year, the Yankees were about to anoint Clint Frazier as their starting left fielder as a result of his impressive showing during the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign.
But a lot can change in a year, and that has never been more evident than as of late.
Last week, the Yankees ultimately chose to designate Frazier for assignment in order to protect some of their prospects by giving them a spot on the 40-man roster ahead of the Rule 5 Draft. He was released a few days later.
And just like that, Frazier is no longer in the Yankees’ future plans after a rough season which ended prematurely due to a mystery ailment that involved vision and dizziness issues.
“The big leagues is hard. … Even when you’re really talented, nothing is a sure thing,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters on Monday.
Boone had not yet reached out to Frazier and went on to blame some of his issues on injuries over the past few years.
“Fortunately for him, his story is not complete from a baseball standpoint,” Boone said. “The bottom line for Clint is he’s a guy with a lot of ability and it’s just a matter of, he’s dealt with some injuries and different things that kept him off the field at times. But I feel if he gets the right opportunity and [stays healthy], he still has a really good opportunity to write a really good career story.”
Frazier was the fifth-overall pick back in the 2013 amateur draft. The Yankees acquired him at the trade deadline in 2016 in exchange for reliever Andrew Miller.
During his time with the Yankees, Frazier dealt with concussion issues, had his position blocked for the majority of his tenure and then had another ailment pop up last season as well.
The 27-year-old last played for the Yankees on June 30, before missing the rest of the year with vertigo-like symptoms. But Boone says he has no regrets regarding how they handled their young slugger.
“We poured into him as much as we possibly could,” said Boone, who handed out groceries to Bronx residents at Yankee Stadium as part of the Yankees’ partnership with the Food Bank For New York City to help families facing food shortages.
“I do feel he made really good strides in a lot of areas in his game at different times,” Boone said. “Some of the time missed with ailments and injuries are what ultimately kept him from finding a consistent path [in the majors] and at different times it was being a little blocked by some guys on the roster.”
Beyond Frazier, the Yankees also designated Tyler Wade and Rougned Odor for assignment as well. The club traded Wade to the Angels earlier in the week in exchange for cash considerations or a player to be named later.
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