Do the Milwaukee Brewers really need another corner outfielder that can slide to centerfield but does not offer a high level of defense at that position? If that corner outfielder is Clint Frazier, there is an argument to be made.
Obviously Milwaukee has Christian Yelich, Avi Garcia, Ryan Braun, and Ben Gamel in the fold. All four players could return along with Lorenzo Cain in 2021. Adding Frazier to the outfield mix creates a crowded group. Yet it is in no way out of the question that the Brewers would consider trading for the soon to be 26-year old.
Acquiring Talent Regardless of Positional Need is a Modus Operandi of David Stearns
Brewers fans saw this philosophy take shape during the Brewers’ 2018 playoff run when they signed both Mike Moustakas and Jonathan Schoop while already having a high performing Travis Shaw. Those three players would play at two positions. It might even be said that the trade of Christian Yelich and the signing of Lorenzo Cain was an example of this philosophy. The Brewers already had Braun and a 30 home run talent in Domingo Santana. Why sign both? Well, things worked out.
The same would likely come true if Milwaukee traded for another outfielder even though there are more glaring needs. Clint Frazier is a very talented player with All-Star potential. The Milwaukee Brewers’ front office needs to go after as many of these types of players as possible no matter positional need.
Acquiring Young, Controllable Talent is another Modus Operandi of David Stearns
Frazier is yet to turn 26. He does not become a free agent until 2025 when he is 30 years old. This was once one of the more highly regarded prospects in baseball, and he headlined the trade for Andrew Miller that was thought by many at the time to be a high price to pay. Frazier is essentially blocked from playing time by players that have already proven themselves. Frazier needs an opportunity to play much more often. Only in times of injury need does he get that with the Yankees.
In Milwaukee, Frazier could thrive. He is quite possibly the best outfielder the Brewers would have outside of Christian Yelich. Maybe Lorenzo Cain would be better, but LoCain will turn 35 next season. Frazier is better than any option the Brewers have knocking on the door from its farm system. With 4+ years of control, Frazier is just the type of player the Brewers’ organization should look at.
Frazier is a really talented baseball player
Clint Frazier is having a difficult time getting on the field, but it is not about performance. Right now he is slashing .300/.364/.600 albeit in just nine games played. In 246 plate appearances in 2019, he hit 12 home runs and slugged .489. Frazier was once the #1 prospect in New York’s system according to MLB Pipeline, ranking ahead of the likes of Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, and Miguel Andujar. When the outfielder was still a prospect, MLB Pipeline lauded his potential with the bat — “Frazier’s bat speed and raw power are among the best in the Minor Leagues and suggest the ceiling of an All-Star.”
He can play all three positions in the outfield. He can immediately take over in right field for Milwaukee. Electrifying bat speed, five-tool athleticism, and the potential of a 30-30 All-Star make Frazier a good bet.
Frazier would be a better fit in Milwaukee than in New York
In an April post from NJ.com, it was suggested that Clint Frazier might not be the New York Yankees type of player. In the article the author, Randy Miller, cites an anonymous MLB scout who spoke about Frazier’s fit with the Yankees. That scout, according to the post, described Frazier as eccentric, stylish, and outgoing with flair. The scout compared him in personality to former big leaguer and MLB Network personality, Eric Byrnes.
In essence, the scout was suggesting that would not fit with the New York Yankees. You know where that does fit; Milwaukee. Eric Thames, Jesus Aguilar, Nyjer Morgan, and Carlos Gomez immediately come to mind as players falling into a similar category.
The same scout described what Frazier could be somewhere else.
I can see him playing for a team like Oakland and hitting 25 or 30 homers with 100 RBI and stealing 20 bases and being who he wants to be whether you like him or not...I’m not going to go into the personality. I’m just saying when I look at Clint Frazier, I look at a player who may not fill that Yankees prototype mystique of the Aaron Judges.
The way I see it, if Frazier’s personality rubs somebody, it’s a manager’s job to make it work. Jim Leyland used to say, ‘It’s my job to make the team good. It’s my job to connect them all. It’s my job to get the best out of my guys.
That Jim Leyland reference is much the same way I see Craig Counsell, at least from a far. Frazier is the type of player the Brewers’ organization would get the most out of, and he could be who he is in a Milwaukee uniform.
Frazier should be a good value
Clint Frazier has demonstrated little of his potential while with the New York Yankees’ organization. Much of that revolves around the lack of opportunity. Evidently some of it revolves around fit. Some of it also revolves around his frustration concerning his lack of opportunity.
If the Brewers could trade for Frazier prior to the trade deadline, they might get a star caliber player for the price of a talented, but unrealized potential prospect/MLB player (think Byron Buxton). Frazier would not show up in Milwaukee for nothing, but he would come at a more reasonable price tag (either player salary or prospect cost) than a lot of lesser players out there. With the calf injury to Aaron Judge and Brett Gardner on a one-year contract, Yankees’ GM, Brian Cashman, might wait until the offseason to decide on Frazier’s fate as a Yankee. However if the Brewers could match up on a trade for this player, it could turn out very good for Milwaukee.
Baseball statistics courtesy of Fangraphs