Not that it’s a surprise given what we last heard, but it’s now that the season is over it is official: outfielder Jackson Frazier has elected free agency.
It’s theoretically still possible that Frazier – previously known as Clint, if you missed that part – could re-sign a minor league deal with the Cubs from here. But, as we discussed recently, he definitely did not give any indication that was the plan. Moreover, the Cubs’ outfield situation (and/or DH) at that Triple-A/MLB edge is probably going to be very crowded come March. It might not be the best fit for either side in any case.
Frazier wonders why the Cubs signed him in the first place if they weren’t going to give him much of a chance, saying that he had other options. As the first few months of the season played out, I had a lot of the same questions – it made no sense to me to constantly allocate playing time to Jason Heyward, for example, instead of coordinating the positions and playing time to see as much of Frazier as possible. To find out if there was anything there.
That said, given how things played out from there, it’s hard to argue that the Cubs were wrong in whatever internal evaluations they were making about Frazier’s likelihood of succeeding in the big leagues this year. Even with consistent opportunity and playing time, it probably wasn’t going to happen. As noted in the Sun-Times piece, Frazier needed work on his swing, and it hasn’t gotten any better as the year has gone on. And obviously the numbers at Iowa – .195/.287/.310/62 wRC+, 34.5% K – are jarring.
So, I guess that is to say, I understand why Frazier was upset by the DFA, I understand why he was sure it was over at that point, and I also suspect that the Cubs were right that it wasn’t going to happen in the big leagues this year (whether he played over Heyward or not).
Best of luck to Frazier in what comes next. We know there is talent there, and we know how hard he worked to come back from the serious concussion issues. Maybe he’ll find a winter ball gig, rediscover his swing, and then get a decent minor league deal in the spring.