Ex-Yankees lightning rod Clint Frazier resurfaces in unexpected place

But don't tell Randy Miller!
Kansas City Royals v New York Yankees
Kansas City Royals v New York Yankees / Elsa/GettyImages

Raise your hand if you thought former Yankees top prospect Clint Frazier was done with baseball (and keep it raised if you thought baseball might have been done with him).

Frazier's career in the Bronx petered out, but it wasn't just natural regression at play; the outfielder's never-say-slow-down style clearly resulted in multiple concussions, which hampered his once legendary bat speed and reaction time in the outfield. Frazier had moments of greatness (and tall tales told about him and Mickey Mantle's numbers). He hit .362 with a 1.198 OPS with runners in scoring position in 2019, and even that didn't prevent his demotion. His shortened 2020 season felt like a breakout (.267, eight homers, .905 OPS) until it wasn't; his clear-and-present additional concussion occurred the next spring.

Frazier was non-tendered by the Yankees after 2021, failing to stick in Chicago with either the Cubs or White Sox over the next two seasons (and, at one point, requesting to be called 'Jackson').

Now, he'll resume his journey in Charleston, West Virginia, as he was announced as a new member of the independent Dirty Birds' roster this week.

Yankees top prospect Clint Frazier resurfaces in Independent League

All things considered ... at the end of the day ... it would've been really nice to keep Andrew Miller for a few more years.

The Yankees' trade of Miller to the Guardians netted them Frazier, Justus Sheffield, and two relievers (Ben Heller, JP Feyereisen). They should be commended for obtaining four big-leaguers, but Feyereisen was a more impactful Ray (and ended up in the Willy Adames trade), while Heller, Sheffield and Frazier all failed to reach their considerable ceilings. Sheffield was sent to the Mariners in the James Paxton package; Miller and Aroldis Chapman, both traded by the Yankees at the '16 deadline, faced off in the 2016 World Series. The 2017 Yankees were good enough to have benefitted from retaining Miller's services. Anyway, why is this a shame spiral? Good for Frazier. Ugh.

Frazier deserves a healthy chance in Indy Ball, and even if there isn't ultimately a path to an MLB return available for him, getting back to a place where playing ball is fun (and Randy Miller is nowhere to be seen) is an obvious win for a player who'd seen his life upended by physical challenges. Hopefully, after a return to form, he's scouted by all MLB teams except the Rays, Red Sox and Astros.