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.

56 Responses

  1. Grand Salami

    Roark + One of our guys who has options and won’t cop an attitude being sent down (Ervin would be necessary I am guessing but maybe one of the AAA guys) and a 10 ten prospect?

  2. matthew hendley

    I would like the pick up. Honestly with all the injuries though I think the Yankees hold on to him. But if they don’t….
    Roark, (with the reds picking up the tab) and Siri- and that is it. If the Yankees Balk, pivot over to Seattle and talk with a rebuilding team about Santana.

  3. 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?

      • Jim Walker

        Taking it a step further Frazier’s OPS and OPS+ would be 2nd on the Reds to Dietrich right now with about 20 more PAs than Dietrich has.

        Frazier was just 4 PAs short of having enough PAs to be on the qualified list when optioned. The Reds highest qualified OPS/OPS+ is Suarez at .830/107. Think is fair to say that an 0 for 4 could be tacked onto Frazier’s stats and he would have a higher qualified OPS/OPS+ than any Red.

  4. Pete

    Is OF the place to upgrade? Doug mentions Winker,Trammell, Siri, VanMeter, Aquino, O’Grady. He doesn’t mention Ervin – the guy who really intrigues me and out of the OF’ers I’ve seen in the Reds system, may have the potential to be a superstar. Two questions come to mind: eventually could Winker play 1B and Senzel play SS? If the answers are yes, I’d be really interested in Frazier. If no, I’m looking at SP’s, SS and C. Where do we get the most bang for our buck, given upgrade potential?

    • RojoBenjy

      I would love to see Ervin break out also. But I don’t think the Reds are high on him. They certainly behave towards him as if he were an expendable.

      • Pete

        I think you are correct in your assessment of the Reds interest in him but he might force the issue given the opportunity. I’d really like to see what he could do given some playing time. Maybe when/if Puig is moved.

  5. 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.

    • RojoBenjy

      I would give them Iggy and Roark for Frazier yesterday.

      • matthew hendley

        they have no need of a Reds Closer, as they already have a Reds Closer.

        They have no need of a Reds shortstop because they already have a Reds SS

        SO either Iggy wouldn’t work in this scenario

  6. Steve Mancuso

    I like the idea of trading for Clint Frazier and agree this might be a fit worth the time to pursue. But I doubt the Yankees or any other team would see Tanner Roark as having been “well above average” based on ERA.

    Roark has been right around NL SP average in strikeouts, below average on walk-rate and swinging strikes, and well below average in ground ball rate.

    NL average for xFIP is 4.30, Roark is 4.42. Roark has been above average in xwOBA and xwOBA on balls in contact. His hard-hit ball rate, barrel% and EV are above average.

    If you want to get analysis of pitchers right (or at least closer to the way major league teams would look at it), you have to get past short snippets of ERA as a measuring stick.

    • Pete

      Agree, Castillo is the one guy that would get their attention……. Could they offer a sweet enough package to make it worthwhile?

      • Steve Mancuso

        Doug is right on the framework for the trade. Find a starting pitcher that would help the Yankees with 2019 but one that to give up wouldn’t hurt the Reds beyond 2019. Castillo wouldn’t fit that description. Roark would be perfect if he was better. Alex Wood would be interesting were he to get healthy quick enough. Although Chad Dotson has made an interesting case for the Reds trying to sign Wood right now to an extension.

      • Pete

        Yes if we won’t deal Castillo, I believe it’s a no go. Just not a good fit with the Yankees needs.

      • matthew hendley

        If its that, then its Castillo alone for Fraizer, one of their pitchers that is not 80 years old, and 2 Legit prospects minimum. The Roark Trade works because of the money if the Reds pay it. The Yankees are up against the LT ceiling and verbally committed not to going over it. I don’t think the Yankees give up enough for Castillo, don’t trust the reds to conduct that trade to a point where it would be executed successfully.
        Roark fits innings eater, and the prospect requirement after that would be less.

        Both plans if done correctly work though.

      • Pete

        Matthew, I share the same concerns. It would have to be an overwhelming package from the Yankees.. Looking at it from their side, Castillo would be their #1 starter and maybe the key to a championship. It’s probably worth making a gesture. I do have concerns about being fleeced but unfortunately this goes with any move the FO makes – we don’t have a choice.

        When Bob Howsam was the GM, he was great making moves like this but he is a very rare commodity and the Reds were also stacked in the talent (scouting) and player development areas. A good support staff is critical, hope the Reds have or are developing one…

      • 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

      • matthew hendley

        An interesting development- neutral sites (read MLB Trade Rumors) are indicating that a Roark Return would be “headlined” by Fraizer. Fraizer AND…..people for Roark I would take in a heartbeat.
        Disco mentioned as well. The extra year of control would benefit the Yankees who will lose at least CC after the season.

        This would revise the return for Castillo to the Sale trade level. Perhaps even higher.
        So I don’t think the Yankees will give up what is necessary for Castillo. I am not even sure that they will move Fraizer at all.

        Food for thought from an objective eye

  7. Pete

    I realize folks are going to rip me but what would the Yanks part with for Castillo? Fraizer and……. I’d like to find out; otherwise, why would the Yankees deal with the Reds? They are in win now mode and their soft spot is SP. Frankly I doubt Roark gets it done.

    • 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)

      • Pete

        Sorry to mix sports but it would have to be a trade on the scale with Herschel Walker going from Minnesota to Dallas. But if the Yankees want the linchpin…who knows?

    • The Duke

      First off No.

      With that out of the way a hypothetical package would have to be:

      Gleyber Torres
      Clint Frazier
      Their 2 best pitching prosects

      Which the Yankees wouldn’t do either

  8. RojoBenjy

    Would be a great player to acquire. I give my wish list a try lol.

    I’d give them Peraza, Ervin or Winker, O’ Grady or Longhi, try Siri. Roark in addition may be the piece that gets it done, since reports are that the NYY rotation is hurting.

    O’Grady and Longhi have no place to play for the Reds. Siri may or may not be fool’s gold with his K/BB.

    If the Reds get Frazier they won’t miss Winker. Not sure how much him being a LHH matters when your talking about the difference between those two. Ervin has no place to play either, with the current Puig situation. However with Frazier, Reds can trade Puig. Whoever remains of Winker/Ervin takes LF.

    Come on DW, get something done!

  9. BK

    I would love to acquire Frazier w/Roark as the headliner going back.

  10. Sliotar

    Spitballin’ on trades is always fun to theorize on, but the biggest hurdle was not directly mentioned….

    Other teams dealing their own pitchers in hopes of potentially landing Frazier.

    -The Giants have let it be known that Bumgarner is available.
    -Rumors for now, but the Indians will likely trade Bauer, and they originally had Frazier and might want him back.

    Both guys are younger, have as much or more K potential per 9 innings as Roark ….. and Bauer is controlled for 2020.

    Reds might have to add in more than we think to sell the Yankees on Roark vs. any other SP.

    Not worth it, IMO, when they can roll with Trammell in LF/Senzel in CF/Winker in RF.

  11. MARK MOORE

    From the Yankees rehab news … Stanton and Judge batted 1-2 Saturday against Durham. I’ve got a friend who was at the game. Oh for Eight with some weak stuff.

    Regardless they are heading back to NY and Frazier isn’t. Make the call to find out what it would take.

  12. 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.

  13. Old-school

    The Reds won’t do anything till the All star break, but that’s only 3 weeks away. At some point they are going to have to make some tough decisions on their core nucleus of position players.

  14. RojoBenjy

    Or—as others have said elsewhere—should they trade for Domingo Santana?

    Easier to get the deal done?

  15. Pete

    Tonight looks like the best opportunity to grab a W from the Astros. Castillo against Wade Miley and I like the lineup for the most part:
    Senzel – cf
    Vollo -1B
    Suarez – 3B
    Puig – lf
    Ervin – rf
    Peraza – ss
    Casali – c
    Farmer – 2B

    Don’t get batting Peraza before Casiali but otherwise I’d like to see the top 6 hitters show their stuff tonight.

    • 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.

      • Pete

        Ed, where are you seeing Ervin before Puig? I’m looking at MLB.com.

      • Shchi Cossack

        Defensive Positions, not positions in the lineup…

      • ToBeDetermined

        Framber Valdez, who (shockingly enough) is the first guy named “Framber” to play in the major leagues.

        I’m shocked. NOT

        but, thanks for the info

      • greenmtred

        Mightn’t Cionel also be the first of his name to play MLB? He and Framber might not be the last.

  16. jreis

    I thought there is a law that says the reds can’t trade wit the yankees anymore. If there isn’t, there should be.

  17. TR

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

  18. Pete

    Wow, the Astros are without their best three hitters. This is the game to win out of the three to be played.

  19. 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!

    • ToBeDetermined

      “plus Frazier is a bad outfielder”

      Oh my. An outfield of Winker and Frazier on the corners. That’s just too much to contemplate.

  20. Curt

    Perhaps giving a few of the outfielders we already have a fair shot at making it before adding another one might be a good idea?
    Trade Castillo? ha! He’s one of only 2 or 3 on the 25 that I wouldn’t trade.
    I guess it’s something to talk about…carry on.

    • ToBeDetermined

      They weren’t talking about Luis Castillo, they were talking about Framber Castillo.

      Weren’t they ?

  21. VaRedsFan

    From everything I’ve heard, Frazier can’t catch a cold.
    If the DH comes next year (please do), then he could be an option.

  22. Curt

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

  23. Steve D

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

    • matthew hendley

      Massive overpay, that kind of trade should net half the Yankees prospects.

  24. 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.

    • RojoBenjy

      Do the Indians have anyone the Reds need that could be had with Ervin and/or Siri?

    • Michael Mayne

      Three-way trade alert!!!

      ;^)