The Cubs may have addressed their need for a little right-handed outfield help, as Jesse Rogers first reported a one-year deal with former Yankee Clint Frazier. The 27-year-old initially popped onto the radar when he was designated for assignment and released earlier in the month because he seems like the exactly the kind of pickup the Cubs should be making right now.
The Cubs are closing in on a 1 yr deal with Clint Frazier, source tells ESPN. Was released by the Yankees recently.
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) November 30, 2021
Frazier was supposed to be New York’s starting left fielder after a strong performance during the shortened 2020 season, but health issues limited him to just 218 plate appearances in 66 games. He hit .186 with a .634 OPS and was worth -0.9 fWAR in 2021, leading the Yankees to move in a different direction.
The Cubs now get a platoon option for the corners who has shown decent pop when healthy and has actually hit right-handed pitching a little better over the course of his career. Frazier also provides a little flexibility because he still has a minor league option available and is under club control via arbitration through 2024.
As an added bonus, he’s a sneakerhead whose unrivaled cleat and shoe game may be stronger than Boog Sciambi’s. Expect a segment from Taylor McGregor during at least one game in 2022, maybe as early as spring training.
This is a low-risk move because there’s no such thing as a bad one-year deal, but it’s got tremendous upside if Frazier gets back to his 2018-20 production. Over that three-year span, he hit .267 with an .836 OPS and 123 wRC+ with 20 homers in 447 plate appearances. While it’s alarming that he didn’t even accumulate a full season of PAs in that time, you’ll take those numbers all day.
Now it’d be nice if the Cubs found some left-handed power, though how they go about that is still up in the air.
Update: Frazier will earn $1.5 million guaranteed and has a chance to pick up another $1 million in incentives. He’s only got to put up around 0.20 fWAR to make the base worth it, so maxing out his pay would mean he’s provided exceptional value. The low pay also means he probably won’t earn much in arbitration should the Cubs tender him a contract for 2023. That’s not celebrating a cheap deal, just stating the obvious.
Clint Frazier gets $1.5M plus $1M incentives on Cubs MLB deal
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 1, 2021