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Yankees DFA’s and what to make of the “Clint Frazier era”

BRONX, N.Y. — The New York Yankees made a litany of roster moves Friday. The moves came as teams had to set their 40-man rosters or risk losing players to the Rule-5 Draft (hello Garrett Whitlock). Some of the transactions were more surprising than others.

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One of the pitchers the Yankees kept a year ago instead of Whitlock, Nick Nelson, and his 8.79 ERA, is headed to the Philadelphia Phillies. Nelson and catcher Donny Sands were dealt in exchange for infielder T.J. Rumfield and pitcher Joel Valdez. Both prospects were in rookie ball last season.

New York added infielder Oswaldo Cabrera, pitcher Ron Marinaccio, outfielder Everson Pereira, pitcher Stephen Ridings, and pitcher JP Sears to the MLB roster.

Subsequently, the Yankees designated outfielder Clint Frazier, infielder Rougned Odor, and infielder Tyler Wade for assignment.

Hence, since they won the luxury tax championship again, the Yankees are no longer in need of Odor’s free services. After years of trying to make “Fetch” happen with Wade as “Ben Zobrist with wheels,” they cut bait. This, after trading Thairo Estrada, who was apparently good enough to play for the 107-win San Francisco Giants this season but I digress. Sure, Wade has more versatility than Miguel Andujar but if he’s healthy and rekindles his 2018 form and DH’s maybe you have something.

Perhaps the most intriguing is the tale of Frazier. Whether you want to blame the player or the organization, the biggest indictment was that the team never maximized its full value out of Frazier. Yes, this is 20/20 hindsight but it makes one wonder how much better the Yankees are if they keep Andrew Miller in 2016? Maybe the Yankees don’t run him into the ground like Terry Francona did in Cleveland and he’s a better option than overpaying Aroldis Chapman or eventually Zack Britton? Conversely, who knows if they do or don’t also pursue David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle in 2017? Then again, if Frazier pans out, it’s a heck of a steal to get that type of talent for a relief pitcher. Unfortunately, the best the club got out of that deal by proxy was flipping Justus Sheffield to the Seattle Mariners for one good season of James Paxton.

As for Frazier, it’s a shame he couldn’t stay on the field regularly. Whether it was injury or a tiff between Frazier, the organization, and manager Aaron Boone, the stars never quite aligned. That’s the shame of never maximizing his talent potential on the field.

Off the field, general manager Brian Cashman not striking when the iron was hot was also costly. There were rumors that Frazier (along with Andujar) were potentially in deals that never consummated with the Pittsburgh Pirates for Gerrit Cole. Additionally, when it looked like Frazier would finally stake claim to an outfield spot after a bounceback (albeit short) 2020 campaign, the organization could’ve sold high and subsequently signed a player such as Michael Brantley or Kiké Hernández instead.

Whether it’s guys in the past like Nick Johnson, Brandon Drury, Greg Bird, etc., these things happen and unfortunately with Frazier, it didn’t pan out either.