According to Andy Martino of SNY if the Yankees end up trading Clint Frazier before next month’s trade deadline they’re not going to include him in a deal for a rental player.
After the Yankees optioned Frazier to Triple-A last Sunday to open up a roster spot for Edwin Encarnacion many including myself figured that would lead to him landing on the trading block. That still might be the case but the if Martino’s report is true that means the Yanks would not offer Frazier in a deal to acquire Giants ace, Madison Bumgarner.
Bumgarner is expected to be one of the most highly sought after pitchers on the trade market as we near the July 31st deadline but he is set to become a free agent after the season. That doesn’t mean the Yankees still won’t attempt to trade for him but if a deal is going to get done we probably won’t be seeing Frazier headline the package going back to San Francisco.
I can’t blame the Yanks for taking this stance because as good as Bumgarner is he’s not worth giving up Frazier if he’s only going to be with the team for 2.5 months. During his time with the big league club this season Frazier certainly made the most of his opportunities and showed that he can be a legitimate force in the middle of the order for years to come.
2019 stats: 53 G, .283 BA, 11 HR, 34 RBI, .513 SLG%
His defense obviously needs improvement but his bat is no joke and from an offensive standpoint his future is extremely bright.
There’s also the possibility that the Yankees don’t end up trading Frazier at all given the injury concerns surrounding their starting outfield. Friday night Aaron Judge finally returned from the IL, just two days after Giancarlo Stanton did as well, but then Cameron Maybin left the game with a strained left calf. Aaron Hicks, who missed Thursday’s game and wasn’t in the starting lineup because of a sore right shoulder, replaced him.
Hicks received a cortisone shot and should be in the starting lineup tonight, but considering his injury history the Yankees will be careful with him. Even though the Yankees still have Brett Gardner on the roster to fill in for Maybin or Hicks they’d still be wise to hold onto Frazier and possibly call him back up.
If the Yankees were to consider trading Frazier the only way I see that happening is if it’s for a guy like Trevor Bauer or Max Scherzer. They’re both aces just like Bumgarner but they’re under team control past this season (Bauer through 2020 and Scherzer through 2021). It would definitely take more than just Frazier to acquire one of the two, especially for Scherzer, but he could be the centerpiece in a potential package.
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Marcus Stroman is another starter under team control through 2020 who the Yankees reportedly have interest in but I’d be very hesitant to trade Frazier for him. Stroman would be a solid addition to the rotation but there’s no way I’d trade Frazier to a division rival for a guy who might only be the Yankees third or fourth starter in a playoff series.
You also have to think about the future and the role Frazier could have on this Yankee team next season and beyond. This offseason Gardner and Maybin will both be free agents as will Encarnacion if the Yankees decide to pay the $5M buyout clause in his contract. If Frazier is still on the 40-man roster this offseason the odds any of those three will return to the Yankees are slim.
Next season Stanton will likely go back to being the Yanks primary DH which means the starting job in left field will be up for grabs. As long as he improves his defense I’m sure the Yankees would love to give Frazier that job and let him run with it for years to come.