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What’s next for Yankees’ DFAs Clint Frazier, Rougned Odor, Tyler Wade? Scout weighs in – nj.com

The Yankees freed up 40-man roster spots for prospects on Friday by designating for assistant three veteran players, outfielder Clint Frazier (left), infielder Rougned Odor (top right) and infielder/outfielder Tyler Wade (bottom right).AP
The Yankees stuck with Clint Frazier when he didn’t want to cut his hair and when he ran his mouth. They stuck with him when his outfield play was terrible and when teammates had to publicly answer for his embarrassing Sunday Night Baseball defense because he didn’t want to talk to the press.
The Yankees stuck with Frazier through the slumps, the injuries, the immaturity.
After all of that, Frazier was the Yankees’ Opening Day left fielder last April because the organization believed the redhead with the so-called legendary bat speed who was drafted ahead of Aaron Judge was ready to take off.
They lost their bet.
Frazier stunk for three months, went on the IL on July 1 with dizziness and never returned. Meantime, the Yankees addressed left field for 2021 and 2022 via late summer trade for Joey Gallo, a two-time All-Star and 2020 Gold Glove winner who just fell short this season of hitting 40 homers for the third time.
And now Frazier is just about two feet out of the Yankees’ door with Friday’s designated for assignment that figures to lead to a trade or waivers in the next week.
Because this was deadline day to add prospects who are eligible for this year’s Rule 5 draft to the 40-man roster, Tyler Wade and Rougned Odor also were designated for assignment.
These moves were bold decisions by Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who also traded reliever Nick Nelson and catching prospect Donny Sands to the Phillies for two 21-year-old minor leaguers who don’t need 40-man roster protection yet, first baseman T.J. Rumfield and Dominican left-hander Joe Valdez.
Here are the youngsters that the Yankees valued more than Frazier, Wade and Odor:
— Left-hander JP Sears looked like a future bottom-of-the-rotation MLB starter this year going 10-2 with a 3.46 ERA for Double-A Somerset and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
— Hard-throwing 6-foot-8 reliever Stephen Ridings pitched to a 1.24 ERA with 42 Ks in 22 innings in Double-A and Triple-A, and he also looked good in his first big-league action (5 games, 1.80 ERA).
— Righty bullpen piece Ron Marinaccio is a Tom Rivers, N.J. product who is positioned to debut in the majors next year after pitching to a 2.04 ERA in 40 Double-A and Triple-A games this year with 105 strikeouts in 66 1/3 innings.
— Center fielder Everson Pereira, a 20-year-old Venezuelan center fielder, hit .303 with 20 homers in 49 rookie level, Low-A and High-A games.
— Switch-hitting infielder Oswaldo Cabrera won the Double-A Northeast League MVP after batting .272 with 29 homers and 89 RBI in 118 games with Somerset.
“I like what they protected,” said a Major League scout who closely follows the Yankees’ big-league club and farm system. “I like all five of the prospects more than the guys they took off the roster. They’re not losing anything with Frazier and Odor. I am a little surprised about Wade.
As for Frazier …
“Somebody is going to gamble on Frazier, but I wouldn’t want him on my team,” the scout said. “I know other clubs feel the same. I really worry about his makeup. I wouldn’t say it’s as bad as it was, but people always remember.
“I don’t think there’s much trade value here. Frazier has ability, but he’s up and down. And this guy has been in concussion protocol how many times? For a lot of reasons, it was time for the Yankees to move on.”
Odor was designated even though he’s a 27-year-old infielder with tremendous left-handed power and a $12-million salary for 2022 and $3-million buyout for 2023 that will be paid entirely by the Texas Rangers.
“That tells you the Yankees think they’re going to get a shortstop, and if they pony up the money it’ll probably be Corey Seager,” the scout predicted.
Odor hit 30-or-more homers three times with Texas and went deep 15 times in just 322 at-bats this year for the Yankees, but he annually hits for a very low average and strikes out a ton. The Yankees already have that in Gallo.
“Like Frazier, I wouldn’t want Odor,” the scout said. “It’s all or nothing with him and he won’t change. He’s on his own program. When Odor was younger in the minor leagues, I loved him. Loved him! He brought energy to the ballpark. He played hard. He played foul pole to foul pole. He stayed on top of balls. He got to the big leagues and had a big year, then all of a sudden it was launch elevation. Now all he does is try to get home runs.”
The scout is baffled by the Yankees’ decision with Wade.
“Who’s their utility guy now?” he asked.
It could be 2020 AL batting champ DJ LeMahieu, but there’s no telling who’d replace Wade as the speedy pinch-runner option because free agent outfielder Brett Gardner appears to be a longshot to return.
Wade’s DFA is a surprise because in 2021 he was the Yankees’ most versatile player, he was their fastest player and he led the team with 17 steals despite getting just 145 plate appearances. Wade finally hit a little, too, as he batted .268 to push his career mark to .212.
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Cashman hasn’t publicly explained his rational on this roster move yet, but the Yankees prefer the last man on their bench to have minor-league options and Wade won’t have any next season. This move seemingly would make more sense if the Yankees hadn’t also recently lost fellow speedy reserve infielder Andrew Velazquez, who was removed from the 40-man roster on Nov. 5 and promptly claimed off waivers by the LA Angels.
“I do think Wade having no options left had something to do with his DFA,” the scout said. “What I don’t get is not re-signing Velazquez. If they do that, nobody’s talking about them losing Wade. He has value because he can go out there and play defense at different positions in the infield and outfield. And this year Wade swung the bat the way I’ve thought for years he was going to. Somebody will trade for Wade.”
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Randy Miller may be reached at [email protected].
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