The news of Jackson (née Clint) Frazier being DFA’d during the Cubs’ trip to Yankee Stadium back in June came as a shock to most and still seems odd in light of their eventual parting of ways with Jason Heyward. It was even stranger when Frazier cleared waivers and accepted his assignment to Triple-A Iowa, a decision that appeared at the time to have been influenced by the possibility of a call-up following the trade deadline.
But Ian Happ wasn’t moved after all and Frazier has remained in the minors as prospects have been called up and players have been activated from the IL. Not that batting .191 with a 59 wRC+ over 246 plate appearances would have been worthy of a promotion, mind you. And as it turns out, Frazier only stayed with the organization to guarantee the remainder of his $1.5 million salary for 2022.
The result has been a frustrating season characterized by “cold” treatment by the front office, lowlighted by GM Carter Hawkins informing him via phone that he had been designated.
“Things happen, and I’m not really holding on to too much of what I’ve gone through already,” Frazier told the Sun-Times. “But, definitely, it was pretty clear whenever it happened what I was gonna do.”
The outfielder was coming off of a disappointing season with the Yankees stemming from post-concussion complications and he has been outspoken about how those physical struggles impacted his mental health. The DFA caused him to question why he chose the Cubs and, more specifically, why the Cubs chose him. David Ross admitted that they weren’t able to give Frazier opportunities to succeed, yet Heyward was still being trotted out to center on a regular basis at the time.
Whether it’s a result of his displeasure, a lack of confidence, or simply pressing to prove himself, Frazier’s swing has betrayed him. In what amounts to a case of the yips, the normal hitch in his barrel has gotten so severe that his exceptional bat speed can’t make up for it.
“I don’t know how it happened,” Frazier explained. “Something that was so natural to me finally isn’t natural. And I don’t know how to get out of it.”
So now he’s just playing out the string on this lost season and is planning to play in the Dominican Winter League in an attempt to rebuild his swing and his value as a free agent. For what it’s worth, I hope he’s successful. Baseball is an incredibly difficult sport that can take a heavy psychological toll on athletes, particularly those experiencing struggles they can neither explain nor correct.
“I’d like to prove to people that this is not the player that I’ve become,” he said. “It’s just something that I’ve been going through.”