Clint Frazier’s tenure with the Yankees may have ended after five unfulfilling seasons when New York designated him for assignment on Friday to open a roster spot for a prospect ahead of the winter meeting draft.
Frazier can be claimed by another major league team off waivers. If he is not, he could be assigned outright to the minors but he would have the right to reject the assignment and become a free agent because he has at least three years of major league service.
Infielders Rougned Odor and Tyler Wade also were designated for assignment.
Now 27, Frazier was the fifth pick overall in the 2013 amateur draft by Cleveland and was a prized prospect when he was acquired by the Yankees in the July 2016 trade that sent reliever Andrew Miller to the Indians.
Frazier made his major league debut in July 2017 but the outfielder never has had more than 246 plate appearances in a season. His 2018 season was wrecked when he collided with an outfield wall at Bradenton, Florida, during a spring training game, sustaining a concussion that limited him to 41 plate appearances that season.
He hit .267 with 12 homers and 38 RBIs in 2019 but struggled with defense, reaching a low point against Boston that June when he misplayed balls off the bat of Eduardo Núñez, Andrew Benintendi and Michael Chavis.
His defense was much improved by this season, but he hit .186 with five homers and 15 RBIs. He didn’t play after June 30 because of what the Yankees called vertigo.
“I’d love to have the opportunity to talk about this situation publicly and probably plan to do so soon,” Frazier wrote on Twitter on Oct. 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.”
Frazier had a $2.1 million salary last season and had been eligible for arbitration.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said last week that Frazier was working out in Atlanta ahead of 2022.
“There’s a lot of expectation and optimism that what transpired will not be an issue as he enters next season,” Cashman said.
New York also traded right-hander Nick Nelson to the Philadelphia Phillies along with minor league catcher Donny Sands for minor league infielder T.J. Rumfield and left-hander Joel Valdez.
With the moves, the Yankees were able to protect five prospects in next month’s winter meeting draft. The Yankees selected the contracts of right-handers Stephen Ridings and Ron Marinacci, infielder Oswaldo Cabrera, outfielder Everson Pereira and left-hander JP Sears to the major league roster.