If there’s one thing the Los Angeles Dodgers do better than any other team in Major League Baseball, it’s reclamation projects. Justin Turner, Max Muncy, Chris Taylor, Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney (maybe…hopefully…), the list goes on and on.
Another potential reclamation project for the Dodgers is now available for Andrew Friedman to get his hands on. Former fifth-overall pick Clint Frazier has been designated for assignment by the Chicago Cubs. This is yet another turn in Frazier’s polarizing career.
Frazier was drafted out of high school in 2013 by the Cleveland Guardians and was traded to the New York Yankees in 2016 in the big Andrew Miller deal. Frazier would make his MLB debut with the Yankees in 2017 and bounced between the big leagues and Triple-A for most of his career in the Bronx.
Frazier had some impressive moments (see: 2020) and some bad ones (see: 2021), and was eventually un-tendered by the team this past offseason. Chicago swooped in and signed him to a one-year deal and his career in the Windy City lasted just 19 games. He slashed .216/.356/.297 without a single home run.
Why Clint Frazier makes a lot of sense for the Los Angeles Dodgers
First of all, if there’s any team that can bring in Frazier and fix him, it’s the Los Angeles Dodgers. They have done so enough times that fans can simply trust that the team will figure it out with whoever the next reclamation project will be. Friedman and the front office have to be looking at the immense potential that Frazier once had as a massive opportunity for the franchise.
Frazier is still only 27 years old, so the ship hasn’t sailed on him being a productive big leaguer. If Frazier was terrible throughout his big-league career, he would be one thing, but he’s shown promise Even at his worst, Frazier has shown an ability to get on base and, if the slugging can return, he could be a true asset in a lineup.
It may have been a shortened season, but the potential lies in Frazier’s 2020 campaign. Frazier had a .394 on-base percentage and a .511 slugging percentage. That made him one of just 14 players in the whole sport to have a .390 OBP and .510 SLG with at least 150 plate appearances.
His defense is a mess, but with the universal DH that’s not as big of a problem. Granted, in this hypothetical scenario, Frazier would likely start out in OKC to work on his swing, but when he eventually does get his chance, he would give the team another DH option as well as a mediocre defender left field. The Dodgers can afford a below-average left fielder when they have Cody Bellinger in center and Mookie Betts in right.
Plus, the outfield depth on the Dodgers is not great after the team made the mistake of trading AJ Pollock. Chris Taylor and Gavin Lux have done fine jobs of playing left field, but neither are true left fielders. If there’s one area of the roster that is significantly lacking, it’s in the outfield, and there’s no one in triple-A ready to come up and fill that depth void.
The Dodgers have just two more outfielders on the depth chart outside of the trio of Betts, Bellinger and Taylor: Kevin Pillar (who is on the 60-day IL) and James Outman, who is only in Double-A.
Frazier never got a real chance with the Yankees, whether it was because he was blocked on the depth chart or because he suffered injuries. He also never got a true chance with the Cubs, as that tenure only lasted 19 games. It’s time for the Dodgers to give him an opportunity, and if history tells us anything, it’s that he will turn into a productive big-leaguer with LA.