A Window to 2022

Goodbye guns 😥

Among the Yankees’ moves to free up 40-man roster space was a dual DFA: Clint Frazier and Tyler Wade. While not officially the end for either player, the move tells us that they’re essentially done as Yankees, a disappointing end for the duo.

While Wade won’t find fans ’round this blog, it’s worth noting that his profile suggested he could be a useful piece for the Yankees’ bench. It just didn’t work out that way. It’s entirely possible he fills this role for another team, and we wish him well on a personal level.

Clint, on the other hand, was one of our personal favorites, but it just didn’t work out for him. Head injuries led to a blown chance at the beginning of this season and that effectively sunk his Yankee career. It’s too bad because his personality and skillset made him seem destined for stardom in New York. Hopefully, Clint gets healthy and tears it up somewhere.

Regardless of how we feel about these players or this move, the move itself gives us a bit of a window into how the 2022 Yankees will operate. Finally, it seems, they will take roster depth seriously.

It seems counterintuitive to say they’ll prioritize depth after they just cut two guys who would be, well, good depth, but both players are a combination of flawed and frequently unavailable to play, meaning they’re easily upgraded.

If the Yankees go after a center fielder and relegate Aaron Hicks to fourth OF status, if they continue to play Giancarlo Stanton in the field with even a little frequency, it’s hard to see how Frazier gets playing time. If (when) the Yankees sign a shortstop, it relegates someone in their already talented infield to bench/utility duty and whether that’s Gio Urshela, DJ LeMahieu, or Gleyber Torres, any of those three is better than Wade.

Even if the Yankees don’t follow either of those plans, which is unlikely, it is likely that anyone they would sign or trade for to fill a bench role would be better than Frazier or Wade.

The degrees to which we’ll miss Wade and Frazier certainly vary, but if their losses help make the 2022 Yankees a better team, the move will have been worth it. Given the upcoming CBA expiration, this move and its potential outcomes may have to sate us for a while.

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8 Comments

  1. Wade didn’t hit that well, but without him the Yanks have no one who can be an effective pinch runner. Having a speedy runner proved valuable a number of times and was a good antidote to the mostly station-to-station approach of the rest of the team.

    • John

      They can likely pick up someone who can run more/as effectively without Wade’s issues at the plate – for someone with no power and plus speed, a 25% SO rate is unacceptable.

      More disappointed with the Frazier news – the injuries really disrailed him just when he looked to have figured things out. Doubt he would consider a minor league contract so hopefully he can get healthy again and display that legendary bat speed with some NL team.

  2. sturkfeld

    i just find it hard to believe they couldn’t trade wade for something in return. but it seems i value him higher than other major league organizations.

  3. Scout

    Possibly these moves will lead to putting a better team on the field. Possibly.

    But I’ll wait to see what happens next. Hal Steinbrenner has shown himself less interested in winning World Series than in making money. Although he talks about lifting the financial shackles that so hurt the team in 2021, he hasn’t actually approved any steps that will increase payroll. The team could easily fill the roster internally with young players who might be upgrades but are completely unproven. If Cashman settles for a third-tier shortstop and fails to upgrade center field or first base, then we’ll know clearly what Hal’s priority is.

  4. DZB

    Really disappointing to see Frazier go, and I don’t see how he doesn’t leave the organization after all the issues he’s had with them. I hope it doesn’t mean his health issues will keep him from being a productive player because I find him likable and fun to watch.

  5. Sam

    Leaving Gittens on the 40 man while cutting Wade will not age well

    • RAPMaster

      Totally agree. Wade is getting very underrated. Here’s some perspective, FanGraphs Win Probability Added for 2021:
      Tyler Wade – 0.74
      Mookie Betts – 0.51
      DJ LeMahieu – 0.06
      Gleyber Torres – 0.05
      Gio Urshela – -0.86 (negative value, not a typo)

      Very likely with more playing time Wade’s WPA would go down, but it shows he contributed a lot more than is being realized.

    • Steve

      No reason to fret over something like that in November.

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