The Yankees announced they’ve designated Clint Frazier, Rougned Odor and Tyler Wade for assignment. The moves create roster space for the selections of prospects Oswaldo Cabrera, Ron Marinaccio, Everson Pereira, Stephen Ridings and JP Sears to the 40-man roster. That keeps all five from being selected in the Rule 5 draft.
Frazier and Wade are arbitration-eligible, but the Yankees evidently determined they weren’t going to bring either player back. It’s easy to envision both attracting interest over the coming days, and New York will ten days to explore offers.
Frazier was a middle-of-the-order presence as recently as last year, when he mashed at a .267/.394/.511 clip. That came in a small sample of 160 plate appearances during a truncated season, but it was the kind of offensive upside talent evaluators have lauded for the former #5 overall pick. While Frazier’s a limited defensive player with swing-and-miss concerns, he also flashed a tantalizing blend of raw power and plate discipline.
The 2021 season was a disaster, though. Not only did the 27-year-old’s line fall to a miserly .186/.317/.317, he didn’t play past the end of June due to recurring vertigo-like symptoms. It’s certainly not how either he or the team would’ve envisioned his time in pinstripes coming to an end.
MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects Frazier for a modest $2.4MM salary if he were to proceed through the arbitration process. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see another team roll the dice on his upside for that affordable sum, either via trade or waiver claim. If Frazier were to clear waivers, he’d have the right to elect minor league free agency.
That’s also the case for Wade, who’s projected for an affordable $700K arb salary. The 26-year-old doesn’t bring much power potential, but he draws a fair amount of walks, runs well and can handle multiple positions. Wade is coming off a .268/.354/.323 showing in 145 plate appearances, and it’d register as a surprise if he didn’t land elsewhere in the coming days.
The Yankees swung a deal to acquire Odor from the Rangers just before the start of the 2021 season. While the left-handed hitter had some timely hits, his overall production was lackluster. Odor managed just a .202/.286/.379 mark over 361 plate appearances. The 27-year-old will be guaranteed $12MM next season, the final year of his contract. Texas remains on the hook for essentially all of that sum, so any team that acquires Odor would only owe him the league minimum salary.
Turning to the prospects involved, Ridings may be the best known. The big right-hander already made his MLB debut this past season as a COVID replacement. While he only worked five innings of relief, he looked like a potential late-game weapon. Ridings averaged 97 MPH on his fastball and generated whiffs on a massive 18.9% of his offerings. The 26-year-old also posted dominant numbers in the high minors.
Cabrera is the highest-regarded of the group, according to Baseball America. BA’s #8 organizational farmhand, Cabrera is coming off a solid .256/.311/.492 showing with 24 homers over 478 plate appearances at Double-A Somerset. He’s regarded as a high-end defensive infielder with strong bat-to-ball skills and burgeoning power.
Pereira, a lefty-hitting center fielder, was limited to 221 low minors plate appearances by injuries. The 20-year-old probably isn’t a near-term big league option, but the Yankees didn’t want to chance another team taking a shot on his upside. A highly-regarded amateur coming out of Venezuela in 2017, he raked at a .303/.398/.686 clip when healthy enough to take the field this year. Neither Sears nor Marinaccio has ever made an organizational ranking at FanGraphs or BA, but both posted strong numbers in the high minors and could be big league options in 2022.