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Yankees designate Clint Frazier, Rougned Odor, Tyler Wade for assignment at 40-man roster finalization deadline

Major League Baseball hit one of its offseason deadlines on Friday evening.

Each team had until 6 p.m. to finalize their 40-man roster. Any player left off the roster becomes eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, meaning another team could swoop in and add them to their organization. As of now, the Rule 5 Draft is scheduled for Dec. 8, pending a lockout.

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Three semi-prominent Yankee players did not survive this deadline. Outfielder Clint Frazier, infielder Rougned Odor and utilityman Tyler Wade were all designated for assignment on Friday. In corresponding moves, the Yankees added prospects Oswaldo Cabrera, Ron Marinaccio, Everson Pereira, Stephen Ridings and JP Sears to the Major League roster.

Essentially, this means that the Yankees view those five as too valuable to lose in the Rule 5 Draft. Ridings is the only one with big-league experience after he got a five-game cup of coffee during the 2021 season. Cabrera, Marinaccio and Sears each spent time with the Yankees Triple-A affiliate last year.

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In DFA’ing Frazier, the Yankees are all but certainly closing the book on one of their most hyped prospects in recent years. Once the fifth pick in the MLB Draft, Frazier arrived in the Yankees’ system in 2016 as part of the return for Andrew Miller. MLB Pipeline and Baseball America both had Frazier ranked as the second-best prospect on the Yankees’ farm in 2017, ahead of Aaron Judge and trailing only Gleyber Torres.

Clint Frazier's time with the Yankees appears to be done.
Clint Frazier's time with the Yankees appears to be done. (Matt Slocum/AP)

Frazier showed consistent promise at the big-league level during the 2020 pandemic season, hitting .267/.394/.511. He followed that up with a confusing 2021, going 34-for-183 (.186) at the plate and being sidelined for most of the season with a condition the Yankees initially thought was vertigo before calling it some variation of blurred vision and dizziness. On Oct. 11, Frazier tweeted there’s been inaccuracy surrounding the mysterious injury.

Wade, a close friend of Judge, was always a part-time player, but a useful one. Never much of a hitter, Wade found a role as a pinch runner and defensive replacement. Since making his debut for the Yankees in 2017, Wade played every defensive position except for first base, catcher and pitcher. He got the most plate appearances of his career in 2021 and responded with a career-best .268 average. Strong plate discipline also birthed a .354 on-base percentage. He led the team with 17 steals in 2021 and scored the run that clinched a playoff spot on the season’s final day.

Odor was only a Yankee for a brief amount of time. He was traded to the Yankees from Texas in April 2021 and wound up playing in 102 games. Prior to Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo’s arrival, there were times when Odor was the best left-handed hitter in the lineup, and sometimes the only one. He caught fire in July as injuries opened up more playing time, swatting four homers and 15 RBI while hitting .292 during the month. His 15 long balls ended up being fourth on the team behind Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez.

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As for the kids, Cabrera is a switch-hitting 22-year-old Venezuelan infielder. He led the Yankees’ entire minor league system in RBI last year and ranked second in homers and fifth in batting average. His season was spent mostly at Double-A, where he was named the Northeast League’s Most Valuable Player. Baseball America has Cabrera as the eighth-best prospect on the Yankees’ payroll. Cabrera could also inject some much-needed speed and base running prowess whenever he’s ready for the bigs. He swiped 21 bags for the Somerset Patriots in 2021.

Marinaccio had a pretty even split between Double-A and Triple-A. He was a 19th round pick by the Yankees in 2017 from the University of Delaware. The six-foot-two righty has been used exclusively as a reliever, never starting a single game at any stop in his minor league ascension. His strikeout rate kangaroo-jumped from 28.6% in Single-A during the 2019 campaign to 39.6% across the two levels he pitched in last year.

Pereira is just 20 years old and has the least amount of professional experience in the group. Like Cabrera, Pereira hails from Venezuela and made encouraging improvements last season. His .259 average won’t jump off the page, but a .676 slugging percentage certainly does. That came in High-A, though, so Pereira still has a ways to go.

Ridings profiles as a reliever, especially if he keeps hitting triple digits on the radar gun like he did during his limited time with the Yankees last year. Prior to getting his first chance on an MLB mound, Ridings was a substitute teacher in Florida. Sears is the lone left-handed pitcher to get protected in this move. He threw 53.1 innings at Triple-A last year and struck out 31.9% of the hitters he sparred with. Sears trimmed his walk rate pretty drastically once he reached Triple-A, allowing him to finish his year there with a 0.98 WHIP.

Two more players were sent off the 40-man roster in a low-level trade. Pitcher Nick Nelson and catcher Donny Sands got traded to Philadelphia on Friday in exchange for a pair of 21-year-old minor leaguers. Infielder T.J. Rumfield and left-handed pitcher Joel Valdez came back from the Phillies. Rumfield and Valdez have not been assigned to a minor-league team yet.

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