Oh, no. Ya gotta be kiddin’. C’mon, now.
Frazier’s exit from New York this offseason — unceremoniously sliced from the 40-man roster to make way for a Rule 5 Draft that never came — isn’t what he deserved. He was supposed to be the thunderous bat with the quick wrists covered in glory, the Yankees’ major prize from their Summer 2016 brief rebuild.
First, though, he suffered a concussion in spring 2018 that lingered far longer than he wanted to admit, allowing him to play in only 15 MLB games that season.
The issues didn’t stop there, though. Frazier finally admitted midway through 2021 that he was feeling symptoms again, something he made clear in interviews after his departure this offseason. Based on the timing, we assumed the issues arose when he got his bell rung in a 2021 spring training game rushing headlong into a wall.
Turns out, they dated back even further, directly to his midsummer 2020 breakout. Wondering why Brett Gardner finished off that season with a prominent role in the team’s playoff run? Exactly.
Ex-Yankees OF Clint Frazier didn’t tell team about 2020 concussion
Frazier did not tell the team about suffering a concussion in Sept. 2020, of course. The relationship had clearly gone a bit sour since his first — and, besides, he’s a ballplayer. He wanted to gut it out, and didn’t want to face the reality that it had happened again. That’s a natural human emotion.
Frazier recorded two hits in just seven playoff at-bats (one a long home run, though) after a ridiculous regular season featuring a 150 OPS+ in a shortened campaign. The version of Frazier who showed up the next season, though, was incapable of matching such highs; he was worth -1.4 WAR, among the most disappointing about-faces in the game.
Of course, it’s now painfully obvious what was wrong (again, often theorized in 2021, never proven), and it’s shocking to learn how far back it goes.
Everyone in their right mind is rooting for Frazier in 2022, even if he can no longer find his footing with the Yankees. Perhaps Chicago is a better fit overall, and perhaps an offseason away from the game has finally allowed him to shake off this beyond-nagging issue.
For those somehow still in the dark, though, Frazier’s talent never evaporated. He just carried around a secret he spent most of his Yankee career hiding from, in some form. He’d already admitted his 2018 concussion continued to cloud him in 2019. Add in this new knowledge, and that’s an overwhelming amount of time lost to something so silent.