On Sunday the New York Yankees optioned outfielder Clint Frazier to Triple-A. It didn’t exactly sit well with the 24-year-old outfielder, who was hitting .283/.330/.513 in 53 games this season for the Yankees. But with the acquisition of Edwin Encarnacion, and having Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge both on rehab assignments and nearing return, there’s not going to be much playing time for Frazier.

Before the 2017 season, Clint Frazier was rated as high as the #16 prospect in all of minor league baseball (Baseball Prospectus). He lost his prospect eligibility later that season. The now former top prospect is back in the minors, not exactly happy, and doesn’t have an immediate clear path back to the Major Leagues. And the New York Yankees are a team that is competing, but still has needs.

The Cincinnati Reds, on the other hand, have a starting right fielder who is a pending free agent after the season is over and don’t have an immediate answer for the position, either. Frazier is outhitting every Reds outfielder on the team. Easily. And he would come with plenty of team control if acquired, too.

The Reds have some options for corner outfield spots. They’ve played Jesse Winker in right field. And that could be the move in the future if Taylor Trammell winds up being the third outfielder, who is seemingly going to be a left-fielder only (he’s only played in left this season for Double-A Chattanooga, and right field has never been an option because of his arm strength). Aristides Aquino is currently crushing the baseball in Triple-A. So is Brian O’Grady. And Josh VanMeter, currently on the big league roster, did the same before his call up, too. And then there’s also Jose Siri.

There are options in the outfield for the Reds. But are any of them projected to be better ones than Clint Frazier? That’s a tougher question to answer, but right now, none of them are close to being better. Frazier has shown he can be a well above-average Major League hitter at 24-years-old already.

There should be interest by the Reds in a player like Clint Frazier. But the question is, do the Reds have much of interest for the Yankees? They currently lead the American League East by a half-game over the Rays, and are up 5.5 games on the Red Sox. They have a good pitching staff overall. The bullpen can be downright dominant. But their rotation has been a bit hit-and-miss. And the rumors have been that the Yankees have been looking for starting pitching.

The Reds have two impending free agent starting pitchers. However, Alex Wood probably has next to no trade value at all right now given that he’s on the injured list and hasn’t thrown a single pitch all season long. Then there’s Tanner Roark. He’s posted a 3.63 ERA in 74.1 innings this season with 27 walks and 74 strikeouts. He’s not a “sexy” name, but he’s been a well above-average pitcher this season. And it’s very likely he could help the Yankees rotation – where they only have four starting pitchers right this second.

But, for all of the good that Roark has done this season, he’s not going to carry a trade for Clint Frazier. The Reds would have to add to it. And probably quite a bit. Whether that would be by tossing in a high quality prospect, or maybe a Major League piece (bullpen perhaps?), it’s tough to know. But if nothing else, the Cincinnati Reds front office should be on the phone trying to see what it would cost. Now is the time to try and pounce on adding a long-term, talented outfielder.

15 Responses

  1. Jonathan Linn

    I had the same thought when I saw Frazier was demoted on Sunday. What would it take? Could Puig headline the trade?

    • Hanawi

      Frazier is outplaying Puig and they just sent him down to AAA, so why would the Yankees take Puig?

  2. Michael P

    Very interesting topic. As with any good negotiator, the Yankees always start off very high on the ask. They flat out fleeced the Reds on the Chapman deal but the Sonny Grey trade looks to be solid – especially with the extension. Still think a package of Iggy and Roark is a little steep but would rather give up a FA pitcher than another top prospect.

    As hard as it has been to face it, the Reds appear to be sellers. Here are some actions I would do if I was GM:

    – Flip Iggy for a ML piece (starting CF is excellent if not an SP)
    – Flip Puig for a prospect or two (his trade value is heating up). If not make a Qualifying offer and get the draft pick.
    – Look to extend Alex Wood before he starts to heat up again. His value is at low point no
    – Sign Jose Iglesias
    – Be buyers in MLB Free agent market. Need another #1 or #2.
    – Still on fence with Scooter and Dietrich. If we get a center fielder, I see Senzel moving and no place for Scooter.. Perhaps keep Dietrich around as utility.

  3. Mark Lang

    “But, for all of the good that Roark has done this season, he’s not going to carry a trade for Clint Frazier. ”

    But they should still feel guilty for robbing us in the Chapman trade, so maybe they’ll do this assuage their conscience.

  4. JB WV

    Castillo is a building block, young and the best pitcher we have. No way do you trade him. Roark if they’re interested with either Ervin, Siri or Friedl

  5. Colt Holt

    For perspective. As dominant as Castillo has been, his equivalent, performance and control, is Aaron Judge. As hesitant as the Yanks would be trading judge (they won’t) the reds should be equally hesitant on Castillo. It would require a trade of either a young dominant proven position player (think Acuna/Soto) or multiple top 25 prospects in all of baseball. (Think Paddack/Gote/Urias)

  6. Big Ed

    You have the positions for Puig and Ervin reversed.

    The Reds only have Tucker Barnhart as a RH-hitting bench option (and Michael Lorenzen). That exposes one problem with going with 13 pitchers: once the Astros go with a RH reliever, say in the 6th inning, and the Reds counter with some LH hitters, they may be stuck late with having a lot of LH hitters face a LH reliever.

    The Astros’ main LH reliever is Framber Valdez, who (shockingly enough) is the first guy named “Framber” to play in the major leagues.

    • Big Ed

      It looks like Framber has made two recent starts, so they only have one bad lefty reliever, Cionel Perez, who gave up 7 runs in 3 innings yesterday and is unlikely to pitch tonight.

  7. TR

    No harm in looking into plus working the phone. The Chapman Reds era is history. Nothing ventured, nothing gained

  8. Indy Red Man

    I’d take Lorenzen or Stephenson as a potential starter if I was the Yankees. I still think Puig can be a better hitter then Frazier though….plus Frazier is a bad outfielder. Still like to Frazier find his way to Cincy somehow though? He’s young and has bat speed!

  9. Curt

    Oh my bad, I’m not familiar with Framber Castillo, so I assumed our Castillo. Thx

  10. Steve D

    Would Roark, Gennett, Puig and Rasiel Iglesias get the job done?

  11. RedsFaninPity

    Some of you don’t get the point of what the Yanks want in a trade. They don’t likely want a 4-5 starter, but at least a mid-rotation starter if not better. Unless they want Gray back (ain’t going to happen) or the Reds are going to trade Castillo (they would really be stupid to do that); it ain’t going to happen. The Reds would not at all be a good fit, now the Indians on the other hand might be a good fit. They have pitching and they need OF’s badly – even it was Frazier coming back to them.

    • Michael Mayne

      Three-way trade alert!!!