Chicago Cubs need to proceed with caution with any Clint Frazier pursuit

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

With the New York Yankees releasing Clint Frazier after he struggled yet again in 2021, there will undoubtedly be a team out there willing to give him a chance this winter. Given the  relative lack of depth in the Chicago Cubs outfield, it’s worth wondering if they’ll show any interest.

The issues with Frazier are both his bat and his health. He batted just .186 for the big league club in 66 games this season. The bigger issue, though, is the state of his health. In July, Frazier was placed on the IL with Vertigo and, although we didn’t know it at the time, he had played his last game in pinstripes.

Originally drafted fifth overall in 2013, Frazier came with extreme promise and still has the ability to he a great baseball player if he can get healthy. Unfortunately, those health issues may prevent teams from swooping right in and picking him up. Given the fact of how cost effective he will be, it’s alarming in its own right that the Yankees, a cash cow organization, have given up and just let him go for nothing rather than trying to at least trade him.

Aside from the plate issues he had in 2021, Frazier actually mightily improved his defense, finishing as a Gold Glove finalist this year. That is something the Cubs can use, better defense in the outfield, but still, Chicago – and any other prospective suitor – will need a clean bill of health from the former first-round pick before seriously considering adding him to the fold.

The ailments he had this season were mysterious as Frazier has repeatedly experienced episodes of poor vision and dizziness. He has also experienced symptoms over the last few years stemming from a concussion suffered in 2018.

Even the bargain-loving Chicago Cubs should slow play things with Clint Frazier

If you get past the health issues, he’s shown flashes. In the COVID-shortened 2020 season, Frazier hit .267/.394/.511 in 39 games. Like I said, In 2021, his offensive numbers were way down but he excelled defensively. If he can put it all together and stay healthy, he obviously can be great for any club he plays for.

The thing for Frazier is his injury history may be a little too extensive for teams to be all-in. Even the Chicago Cubs, who love cost-effective players with potentially high upside, may be smart to steer clear here.

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At 27, there’s still time for him to get past the injuries and health issues. But make no mistake. These issues aren’t anything new – and should give teams, including Chicago, pause before considering making him a key piece to the puzzle in 2022.