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After Five Years And Plenty Of Hype, Yankee Outfielder Clint Frazier Designated For Assignment – Forbes

Clint Frazier celebrates after hitting a two-run home run to win a game against the Tampa Bay Rays … [+] at Yankee Stadium on June 1, 2021.
It was friendly social media banter between an up-and-coming, much-hyped prospect, Clint Frazier, and the established major league star, Bryce Harper, two baseball outfielders trading barbs about hairstyles.
“@Bharper3407 maybe i can give you some hair pointers when you join the yankees in the future,” the red-headed Frazier posted in a since-deleted tweet to then Nationals slugger Harper in late November 2016, only months after Frazier had been acquired by the New York Yankees in a deadline blockbuster trade with the Cleveland Indians.
“Ehhhh pretty good right there bro..Gotta learn from (Jayson Werth) with that mop!” Harper replied, referring to his Nationals teammate with an unruly mane of hair.
At the time, Harper had already won rookie of the year honors (2012) and a National League MVP award (2015), and was on the course toward signing his gargantuan 13-year, $330 million free-agent contract with the Philadelphia Phillies after the 2018 season. Frazier, meanwhile, had yet to make his major league debut, but was already shouldering huge expectations after Cleveland chose him with the fifth pick overall of the 2013 amateur draft. When he joined the Yankees, the spotlight only intensified.
Five years after that Twitter back and forth between the two players, Harper’s career continues to flourish — he just won his second MVP award — while Frazier’s up-and-down pinstriped tenure has come to a close, following the Yankees’ November 19 announcement that the 27-year-old Frazier was designated for assignment (DFA). According to collectively-bargained rules, a club has seven days to either trade a player DFA or place him on irrevocable waivers.
It’s a disappointing close to Frazier’s Yankee chapter, one which saw him slug a homer and a double in his major league debut (July 1, 2017) in Houston, and this spring, earn the Yankees’ starting left fielder job. But Frazier’s 2021 season was abysmal — he batted a paltry .186 in 66 games and never played with the club after a June 30 game. The Yankees had attributed his health woes to vertigo at first, but that condition was ruled out after Frazier underwent further tests.
Frazier tweeted in October that he was prepared to discuss publicly his injury and that “a lot of inaccurate things” had been reported.
“[I’d] love to have the opportunity to talk about this situation publicly and probably plan to do so soon,’’ Frazier wrote in response to a Twitter follower on October 11. “My issues have been very personal to me and something I’ve wanted to handle privately, but there’s been a lot of inaccurate things reported about my injury that I’ll clear up.”
His health woes could be traced back to when Frazier suffered a concussion during 2018 spring training. He ended up only playing in 15 games that season. The next year (2019), he was demoted to the minors in June and had some prickly interactions with the media. While Frazier rebounded during the Covid-shortened 2020 season, prompting manager Aaron Boone to promote him to a starting role this year, his performance at the plate in 2021 nosedived. The Yankees finally parted ways with the player who general manager Brian Cashman once said possessed “legendary bat speed.”
Last year during an interview, Cashman speculated Frazier may have still been dealing with the after effects of that ‘18 incident.
“To this day I suspect that maybe it had something to do with the lingering effects of the concussion,” Cashman said in 2020, referring to some of Frazier’s defensive miscues the season prior. “No one knows for certain. But that matches more than anything why he struggled so much defensively, to the level he was looking like mostly a DH (designated hitter).”
The Yankees and Cashman had high hopes for Frazier when he was acquired, and bold-face names such as Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson gushed about Frazier’s potential.
“I can see Major League talent,” Jackson said in a 2016 New York Daily News story, referring to Frazier. “I like the athleticism. He has real good work habits. From there, it’s how he progresses. The pinstripes are a little heavier than other uniforms, but Clint certainly has the talent and I like the way he’s developing.”
Frazier navigated through drama in his first Yankee spring training in 2017 — when his lengthy red hair became an issue and it was reported he wanted the organization to un-retire Mickey Mantle’s No. 7 so Frazier could wear it — and then survived numerous trade rumors in the ensuing three years.
“I think every player has a price tag in reality but we never moved (Frazier) when his value was high. We didn’t move him when his value was low,” Cashman said during an interview last year. “And we haven’t moved him when his value is high again. It shows you we do value him a great deal.”
In a 2016 Daily News story, Cashman said Frazier was “someone we can dream on.”
Now that dream is done, at least for the Yankees, but Boone said Monday at Yankee Stadium that Frazier’s baseball arc still has room to grow.
“Fortunately for (Frazier) his story’s not complete, from a baseball standpoint,” Boone told reporters during a charitable event to hand out meals to the needy. “The bottom line for Clint is, he’s a guy with a lot of ability.”

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