Yankees’ left field hole created once Jackson (Clint) Frazier didn’t work out
One of the reasons the Yankees are still in the market for a left fielder is that Jackson Frazier’s attempt to secure the spot was unsuccessful.
Frazier, released by the Yankees last offseason and by the Cubs following this past year, has finally landed with another team, as he signed a minor league deal with the Rangers on Friday.
Frazier — known as Clint with the Yankees — seemed poised to become the starting left fielder prior to the 2021 season, when Aaron Boone said that February heading into spring training, “Clint has earned his place.”
Frazier was coming off a strong showing during the 2020 COVID-shortened season, when he took advantage of injuries to other outfielders and became a valuable part of the lineup, finishing with an OPS of .905 in 39 games.
Later in the spring of 2021, Boone added, “Especially with the improvements he’s made in every aspect of his game, at his age, his experience now and his success and confidence that he’s continued to build has put him in a position to go into this camp as an everyday player. He’s certainly earned that.”
But Frazier, now 28, struggled at the plate then was removed from a game due to dizziness in June and never played in the majors with the Yankees again, bringing to an end a wild tenure with the club — with Frazier surrounded by controversies of his own making, as well as lingering concussion issues.
He fared no better with the Cubs last season, ineffective both in Chicago (.653 OPS) and Triple-A Iowa (.585 OPS).
He’ll get another — and perhaps final — chance with Texas, where he’ll compete for a spot off the bench after signing a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.
The Yankees, meanwhile, have been unable to add a left-handed bat in left field, something general manager Brian Cashman said was a goal of his this offseason.
Andrew Benintendi, acquired last year prior to the trade deadline from the Royals, landed a five-year, $75 million deal with the White Sox, and the top trade target, Pittsburgh’s Bryan Reynolds, has stuck with the Pirates thus far.
Free agents Jurickson Profar and David Peralta remain on the Yankees’ radar, as does another potential trade target, Minnesota’s Max Kepler.
Without another addition, Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Cabrera seem poised to battle for the starting spot with prospect Estevan Florial, with veterans Rafael Ortega and Willie Calhoun having signed minor league deals with the Yankees this offseason.
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