Texas Rangers: Could Clint Frazier Be a Possible Trade Target?

Clint Frazier could be a potential trade target for the Texas Rangers this summer (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Clint Frazier could be a potential trade target for the Texas Rangers this summer (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

As the trade deadline inches close, the Texas Rangers are in need of lineup support. Could Clint Frazier be a potential target?

It’s no secret that this year’s MLB Trade Deadline period is going to be a strange one. With 16 teams set to make the postseason and the season shortened to 60 games there is sure to be a much less defined postseason race where the lines between buyers and sellers are blurred. In all of this, the Texas Rangers are no exception. The Rangers currently sit just a half game back of second place in the AL West which is a playoff spot in this season’s format. Despite that, they boast a rather unimpressive 6-9 record and their weaknesses as a team are well documented.

So what does that mean for the Texas Rangers? Very much within reach of a playoff spot but still looking like the under .500 team that they are? It definitely means, or at least should, that Texas are not going to be one of the clubs looking to acquire to notch players with expiring or near expiring deals. Texas just isn’t a club with the assets to outbid top teams for these players nor are they of the level yet where they can be considered a legitimate postseason threat, even if they sneak in.

All that being said, they don’t have to be one of the teams parting ways with anybody of value with a near expiring deal. The operate somewhere in the middle meaning they should be looking to add players that can provide some benefit now but also could be a part of a long-term future. The issue is, those players rarely come cheap. Still, it could buy Texas a little time in making wholesale decisions about their future and keep them in and around the playoff hunt during 2020.

One of the players that fit that description is Yankee’s slugger Clint Frazier. The 25-year old is entering his fifth season with the New York organization after being acquired from the Cleveland Indians as part of the return for Andrew Miller during the 2016 campaign. Known for his offensive ability, Frazier has resided at the upper levels of the minor leagues for the better part of the past few years despite being MLB ready in the eyes of many.

Still, he’s blocked in the Yankees organization and it’s almost a foregone conclusion that he’ll either be moved at the deadline or this offseason. Thomas Carannante from our friends at Yanks Go Yard doubled down in his recent post where he plainly stated that Frazier’s recent call up is merely his audition for the developing trade market.

Frazier’s Fit in Texas

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Most importantly, Frazier would be a significant addition to the Rangers lineup. Frazier’s most marketable asset is what he can do with the bat. In 123 career big league games spread between the past three years, Frazier has a career .254 average with a .771 OPS. His numbers in 2019 were slightly better though batting .267 and seeing that OPS climb to .806 in 69 games. He also hit 12 of his 16 career home runs during last year’s campaign.

There’s belief though that with regular playing time, those numbers will increase towards the potential that had him considered one of the top prospects in baseball just a couple of years ago.

Frazier would also bring the ability to deliver timely hitting to a Rangers’ lineup that notably lacks it. Last year Frazier hit .362 with runners in scoring position with five home runs and 28 RBIs. He delivered in stations where the Yankees needed him to deliver and that’s an asset the Rangers could use.

The knock on Frazier has been and will be his defense. He’s listed as an outfielder and has played all three outfield spots but his best fit in a lineup is likely as a DH. He showed a little bit better performance in left field last season finishing the year with a 13.8 UZR/150 but that was in just 131.2 innings at the position. For the Rangers, a bat is needed but another defensively limited player is not.

Texas already has Shin-Soo Choo and Willie Calhoun splitting time in left field and at the DH spot. That’s without Danny Santana in the lineup while he’s on the IL and when he returns, Texas will have to find a way to keep him and Nick Solak in the order. Adding Frazier to the mix would essentially be a fourth batter the Texas Rangers would want in the lineup but that was limited to corner outfield duty or DH work. As needed as Frazier’s bat would be appreciated, it shouldn’t be at the expense of Calhoun’s or Solak’s at bats ideally.

A Pricey Potential Acquisition

Besides defensive concerns, the Texas Rangers might also struggle to meet the asking price from the Yankees. While Frazier is blocked in the New York organization, the Yankees aren’t going to be giving him away on the cheap. Plus, they aren’t an organization looking for prospects so Texas is going to have part way with big league talent.

The Yankees definitely will have interest in some of the Texas Rangers’ assets. New York is in desperate need of starting pitching and Texas happens to have a pair of veteran starters on team friendly contracts in Mike Minor and Lance Lynn. Minor is on an expiring deal and is coming off a pair of seasons in which he was one of the better pitchers in baseball. That carries some value but probably not enough to land Frazier especially considering Minor’s rough start to the season that has seen a concerning drop in his fastball velocity. Texas seems confident its not injury-based but it’s sure to get a few questions in any trade talks.

Lance Lynn is another pitcher the Yankees might be interested in and certainly carries the most value out of any Rangers’ pitcher. The Texas ace finished 5th in AL Cy Young voting last season and is off to a superb start in 2020. He also has another season on his contract following the 2020 campaign at a team friendly salary. While he carries much more trade value, Texas also will have to be convinced to part ways with him this season and if they are within a sniff of the playoff race, it would take a top notch package to get Jon Daniels to pick up the phone.

The concern in putting together a deal for Frazier is the practicality of the situation. He has the long-term control and immediate impact Texas would be looking for as he’s entering his first year of arbitration this offseason. But considering the struggle it would be to fit him into the lineup, parting with significant assets to acquire him would be hard to justify. If he filled a corner infield spot Texas might be more inclined but at this point in time, while the acquisition would be beneficial, it might not be worth the cost.

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