Reaction: Cameron Maybin Called Up, Clint Frazier Remains in Scranton

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After last night’s debacle against Boston, Aaron Boone strongly insinuated that an outfielder would be coming up to replace the newly-optioned Stephen Tarpley:

First things first: that is a brutal assignment for Tarpley. Baseball is a business, and it makes sense, but man, that’s rough. The dude was called up yesterday, traveled to Boston, didn’t make it in time for the game, entered the game moments after arriving, threw 50 pitches and gave up 4 runs, and is now back out. Brutal. Just brutal.

Second, it made sense at the time to be an outfielder. We all saw the pitfalls of the 2-man bench yesterday, with Romine (the starting catcher!) pitching and Gio Urshela manning left field. And, while the bullpen has been used a lot, it’s much more normal now. Check out James Smyth’s bullpen usage chart:

That’s not so bad, is it? Briton, Ottavino, and Green have only pitched once in the last 4 days (Britton once in the last week!), and Green only threw 4 pitches in that appearance. Chapman was off last night, as were every reliever not named Romine, Cessa or the aforementioned Tarpley. There was no need to carry 9 relievers anymore.

So, realistically, that left two potential choices: Clint Frazier or Cameron Maybin. Let’s briefly recap the two options:

  • Clint Frazier: Red Thunder, a top NYY prospect, had struggled in Triple-A this season after a brief appearance in the Bronx in which he hit .283/.330/.513 (117 wRC+) with 11 homers but atrocious defense and trouble with the media. However, in his last, 21 games, Clint owns a .321/.385/.568 (139 wRC+) line in Triple-A, with only a 14% K rate against a 6% walk rate. He has 12 extra-base hits to 13 strikeouts.
  • Cameron Maybin: In 42 games for New York, Maybin owns a .314/.391/.500 (139 wRC+) line with 5 home runs. He came on strong before his injury and was just completed his 2nd rehab game in Scranton. In 3981 MLB at-bats, he owns a .256/.324/.372 (93 wRC+).

It was one of those two, and the Yankees have made their choice: Cameron Maybin. Here’s the official announcement:

Context aside, I’m thrilled to see that Maybin is getting the call here. The dude is a joy to watch and seems like a genuinely good guy. I think the Yanks are more fun with him around, and he doesn’t have an option, so bear that in mind, too.

*John Sterling Voice* Howevah, this is not the first time since Clint’s original demotion that the Yankees have passed him by. They sent him down a day earlier than anticipated, they recalled Tauchman, etc. There have been numerous opportunities to get Clint, nominally a top prospect, into regular game action at the big league level. Giancarlo Stanton has played in 9 games! And yet, the Yankees haven’t done so.

This reminds me, a lot actually, of the way the Yankees have handled other big-name prospects in their system, namely Jesus Montero and Justus Sheffield. Despite years of public proclamations that they love the guy and view him as a part of the future, whenever the future seemed to arrive…those guys weren’t a part of it. There is an even longer tradition here, too. It feels similar with Clint, who even had a scheduled off-day yesterday.

With a guy like Gary Sánchez, though, the Yankees wasted no time giving him regular action when the opportunity presented itself, even sidelining Brian McCann to do so. The Yankees were a game away from the pennant in 2017 and gave ample playing time to rookies Miguel Andújar and Gleyber Torres last year. That was far from a guarantee, as well.

This leads me to believe that the Yankees, for whatever reason, don’t believe in Clint as much as they say they do (or as many fans do). Maybin is a good guy, but there are 4,000 MLB ABs suggesting he’s not an above-average hitter. Clint is 24 with his career ahead of him and the Yanks keep passing him by. That tells us something, I think.

This is all speculation, but reading the tea leaves suggests that Clint will be a goner before long. Maybe not the deadline, but this offseason if not. I could be very wrong about this, and, in fact, am often wrong about a lot of things, but that’s just how it feels. Time will tell, as they say.

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11 Comments

  1. mark lazarus

    its disgraceful that the yankees leave clint frazier in the minors.

  2. “Clint is 24 with his career ahead of him and the Yanks keep passing him by. That tells us something, I think.” Yes, it tells us that Maybin doesn’t have an option. Imagine the hue and cry if the Yanks had called up Frazier then sent him back down when Maybin’s rehab window was up. It’s unfortunate that Clint is getting squeezed because Tauchman and Maybin are playing so well on both sides of the ball. Had he performed better on defense, this wouldn’t be happening.

  3. Wire Fan

    I think the bigger issue longer term (next year and beyond) is having two pretty defensively challenged players in Andujar and Frazier. Seems like one will be dealt this winter (or sooner) and Andujar’s trade value right now is very limited. The Yankees also seem to value him more.

    There is a 26 man roster next year but do you carry 2 guys whose best position might be DH? It limits the roster flexibility even with the extra man on the bench.

  4. Namecap Spaceman

    Isn’t this just about maintaining roster depth? If they don’t put Maybin on the MLB roster, they have to DFA him. Clint can go up and down. I’m not saying they won’t trade Clint (in fact I think they will if they can get the right SP in return), but I’m not sure this particular roster move makes trading Clint any more likely.

  5. CountryClub

    What they really should do is make the Mets an insane offer for deGrom. Andujar, Frazier, Garcia, Gil. Something like that. That’s the only guy out there that I would truly sell the farm for. He’s the type of guy they need.

  6. Coolerking101

    This strikes me as being as much about team control as anything else.

    If they didn’t bring him up when Stanton went down, there’s no way the team is forfeiting a year of team control to bring him up at the end of July with a 10 game lead on the division. That extra year of team control is valuable, be it for the Yankees or a trade partner.

    • Wire Fan

      I don’t see how this decision is a service time issue.

      Maybin has to be called up once his rehab was done (or put on waivers). So if they did call up Frazier, it only would have been for a handful of days until Maybin’s rehab was over. That isn’t going to impact his club control.

  7. SM

    Given Cashman‘s track record in trading for starting pitchers, if they’re going to make the mistake of trading him, they have a better chance of not regretting it if they trade him for a position player.

  8. It not only tells you something, you should also gauge what other teams value him as, the pirates who often trade with the yankees did not want him, but instead traded cole to the astros… i’m on the yankees side here, i don’t think clint is as good as people think he is or will be. Maybe they can get lucky and trade him now.

  9. CountryClub

    Supposedly, Maybin was going to play nine inning in the field tonight and then get called up Saturday. It makes no sense to bring Frazier up for tonight just to send him down Saturday or Sunday. Maybe what Maybin did earlier this year was a fluke, probably was. But, he did change his swing, so maybe not. But he was always getting the call over Frazier because they don’t want to lose him just yet.

  10. The Original Drew

    I hope wherever Clint lands that he has success. It’s clearly not going to be with the Yankees. They rather have Maybin who hasn’t even played a full game in his rehab assignment yet to play instead of him at the MLB level. It’s incredible. That Andrew Miller trade in 2016 is really looking like a complete bust.

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