Dec. 1: Frazier will have a base salary of $1.5MM, with $1MM of potential incentives available, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.
Nov. 30, 3:19 pm: The deal has been agreed upon, tweets Mark Feinsand of MLB.com.
2:55 pm: The Cubs are nearing agreement with free agent corner outfielder Clint Frazier on a one-year contract, reports Jesse Rogers of ESPN (Twitter link). Frazier remains controllable via the arbitration process through 2025 (barring changes to the service time structure in the upcoming collective bargaining agreement), so this could prove to be a multi-year pickup for Chicago turns things around offensively.
Frazier, 27, is a former top five overall pick who was one of the game’s most highly-regarded young players early in his pro career. He appeared among Baseball America’s top 50 prospects entering three separate seasons, and he headlined the Yankees’ return from Cleveland for Andrew Miller at the 2016 trade deadline.
The right-handed hitter made his big league debut the following season, spending parts of the next five campaigns in the Bronx. Frazier flashed some of the offensive upside that made him so highly-regarded, posting slightly above-average hitting numbers in 2019 before seemingly breaking out in 2020. Over 160 plate appearances during that year’s truncated season, Frazier popped eight home runs and walked at a massive 15.6% clip en route to a .267/.394/.511 slash line.
While Frazier seemed to be emerging as an organizational building block, he struggled through a miserable 2021 campaign. Over 218 trips to the plate, he stumbled to a .186/.317/.317 mark with just five longballs. While Frazier continued to draw plenty of free passes, his downturn in power and lofty 29.8% strikeout rate combined to lead to his worst results as a big leaguer. Making matters worse, Frazier didn’t play from July onward as he was plagued by vertigo-like symptoms. In October, Frazier wrote on Twitter, “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.”
After the season, the Yankees moved on, designating Frazier for assignment before the deadline to add prospects to the 40-man roster to keep them from selection in the Rule 5 draft. He was released not long thereafter. Frazier will now hook on with a Cubs team in transition, affording them the opportunity to take a flier on his upside. He’ll reunite with Chicago general manager Carter Hawkins, who was a prominent member of the Indians’ front office during Frazier’s time in the Cleveland farm system.