If the Yankees sign Marcell Ozuna, trading Clint Frazier feels like a must.
A surprising report dropped on Wednesday suggesting that the New York Yankees were among the teams interested in free-agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna. We’re not going to sit here and tell you we oppose it, but we are going to tell you that there are a lot of other things to consider if the Yankees are serious about this.
The first concern is DJ LeMahieu. Are the Yankees going to spend to keep him and pay for Ozuna? But we won’t get into that. DJ updates are chipping away at our mental health, so we need something a bit less triggering.
Not to say this wouldn’t upset fans, but the possibility of adding Ozuna now has us thinking about the Yankees trading Clint Frazier, since he currently occupies the starting left field job, which is where Ozuna would likely take over in the event a deal gets done.
Hey, it’s not the worst idea. Frazier carries a ton of value and could help the Yankees land a star pitcher, whether it’s a top-paid veteran or a controllable young gun. Plus, while we’re not sitting here advocating for the Yankees to make such a move, trading Frazier doesn’t exactly disrupt the balance of power or continuity of the Yankees’ roster. He only began contributing on a much more significant basis this past season.
So here are three potential trades general manager Brian Cashman could work out if this is the plan in waiting.
3. Clint Frazier and prospects to Royals for Whit Merrifield and Josh Staumont
Yup, we’re still dreaming of a world in which the Yankees get Whit Merrifield.
OK, no starter here, but perhaps a fill-in scenario in the event LeMahieu leaves? Plus, we can potentially get a promising bullpen option out of it. That would solve two issues. Not bad! Regarding the situation in Kansas City, the Royals simply do not need Whit Merrifield or Josh Staumont unless they feel like playing spoiler with their AL Central buddies.
Merrifield deserves to be in a winning situation and, though Staumont showed promise in his second MLB season, the Royals can afford to part with a bullpen piece if they’re still far off from contention. Merrifield would be a tremendous Swiss Army knife player for the Yankees thanks to his experience playing all over the field with the exception of shortstop, catcher, and pitcher. As for Staumont, he’d give the Yankees another flamethrowing, strikeout-heavy reliever to help fortify the bridge to Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman.
Frazier, who has four years left of control left, should be the centerpiece of this deal. What else could interest the Royals? Perhaps throwing in Albert Abreu, Jonathan Loaisiga and top prospects Yoendrys Gomez and Kevin Alcantara. This five-for-two swap would play right into the Yankees’ hands for their current premier championship window while providing the Royals with controllable talent and decent bullpen relief in the interim.