Mets: Is Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier a potential fit in Flushing?
By Leen Amin
Trades between the New York Mets and New York Yankees are not too common. However, the two Big Apple teams could match up well in a deal with Clint Frazier heading to Flushing.
The New York Mets are one of baseball’s biggest messes yet again. During this past offseason, they made moves so that they could become true contenders in 2019, but they are currently not even at .500 and the division seems to be slipping out of reach.
Clint Frazier, who was the fifth overall pick of the 2013 MLB draft and one of baseball’s best prospects, does not seem to have a future with the New York Yankees, and they appear to be waiting to trade him away.
Since the Mets are not in a good place and their centerfielder, Juan Lagares, is having an atrocious season, should they trade for the power-hitting outfielder?
Frazier has shown some real signs of promise during his stints in the majors, and he is still young (24 years old). He has slashed .262/.314/.474 with a .787 OPS.
His 2019 numbers are particularly impressive: he’s slashed .283/.330/.514 with a .843 OPS, 11 home runs, and 34 RBIs. His plate discipline is fantastic: his chase rate with RISP was 13% (the league average is 25%) and he had the league’s best general chase rate with 5.1%.
What makes Frazier even more attractive is that he just keeps getting better. I think he has proven to everyone that he no longer belongs in the minors and has the potential to become an elite major-league hitter.
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Lagares, the Mets’ everyday center fielder when healthy, is having a terrible 2019. He is slashing a measly .182/.252/.263 and his defense is not even as great as it has been in the past. Lagares’ struggles (and Yoenis Cespedes’ regular and frequent absences) are what allow some to entertain the idea of replacing Lagares with Frazier.
The Yankees are getting ready to play a two-game series in London against the Boston Red Sox, and they decided to call up Mike Tauchman instead of Frazier to replace the injured Giancarlo Stanton.
This could be a sign that Frazier’s time with the Yankees is almost up and that they are getting ready to trade him. Frazier’s great numbers and Lagares’ struggles might make this trade sound like a good idea, but let’s take a look at some of the issues it might present.
First, comments made by the Yankees front office dating back to last year indicate that they will require a lot in exchange for Frazier. The Mets then have two questions to answer: do they have enough to give and if they do, is it worth it?
Just a few months ago, they traded an exceptionally promising prospect in Jarred Kelenic for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz, who are currently two of the team’s worst players. So, would it be a good idea for them to go overboard twice within such a short time span? And it’ll look even worse if Frazier comes cross-town and doesn’t pan out.
Second is Frazier’s defense. He is a notably terrible defender. He has a -6 DRS and -2.5 UZR in 396.1 innings at left field (his natural position). No team wants to trade for a bad defender and the Mets should be no exception.
Since the start of 2019, they have been one of the worst defensive teams in the league: collectively, they have -57 DRS and -19.6 UZR. Yes, Frazier’s offense is invaluable, but is his defense worth it?
Taking an in-depth look at the situation helps me say that I do not think the Mets should trade for Frazier. The Yankees really don’t seem like they will budge on him unless they get a lot in exchange and I just don’t think the Mets should give up promising prospects and/or already established players for a player who is a very bad defender and only might pan out offensively.
Speaking of defense, I don’t think his fielding numbers should be overlooked just because he has a good bat. The Mets are too bad of a defensive team to trade for a player who will just make them worse in the field.
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Additionally, what makes it easier for me to say that trading for Frazier won’t be a good idea is the fact that the team’s biggest issues, by and far, have come from their bullpen, which is the worst in the league. If the Mets hope to get their act together to make a push for the playoffs, they need to make immediate changes to the bullpen before thinking of doing anything else.