Yankees select 5 prospects to active roster, DFA Frazier, Wade, Odor
The Yankees shuffled their 40-man roster last night in advance of December 8th’s Rule 5 Draft, saying goodbye to some familiar faces to make way for five prospects. Outfielder Everson Pereira (the organization’s No. 13 prospect according to MLB Pipeline), infielder Oswaldo Cabrera (#16), and pitchers Ron Marinaccio, J.P. Sears, and Stephen Ridings were all protected ahead of the 6 PM deadline. In turn, the club designated Clint Frazier, Tyler Wade, and Rougned Odor for assignment, while trading Nick Nelson and newly-selected catcher Donny Sands to the Philadelphia Phillies for minor leaguers T.J. Rumfield (1B) and Joel Valdez (LHP).
Pereira, a right-handed centerfielder, had a very strong year at the plate between three levels of the Yanks’ system. In just 188 at-bats, the 20-year-old cranked 20 home runs and drove in 57 RBI -- good for a .303/.398/.686 clip -- along with nine stolen bases. He finished the season with High-A Hudson Valley, and projects to reach the majors in 2023.
The versatile Cabrera also produced with the bat in his hands in 2021. Spending all but nine of his 118 games with AA Somerset, the 22-year-old slashed .272/.330/.573 with 29 home runs, 89 RBI, and 20 stolen bases. His performance earned him the AA Northeast MVP award for the 2021 season. With a bit more seasoning in Scranton, where he finished the season, he could be one of the first names called upon in the event of an injury in the infield, especially given the departures of Wade and Odor.
Frazier’s designation is arguably the most shocking of the bunch, given that he opened the year as the team’s unofficial starter in left field. At that time, there looked to be a true breakout on the horizon. He had compiled an .806 OPS/114 OPS+ since bursting onto the scene in the summer of 2017, highlighted by a .905 OPS/150 OPS+ performance in 2020, but was a constant victim of both injuries and inconsistent playing time. His 2021 campaign, simply put, was one to forget: the 27-year-old batted just .186 with a 76 OPS+ over 66 games before vertigo brought it to an end in early July. Some of his symptoms are still unresolved to this day, and with a projected $2.4 million salary (MLBTR) for 2022 via arbitration, the front office clearly felt as though that was too big a risk to take.
Similarly, Wade’s removal comes as somewhat of a surprise. The 26-year-old has been the team’s resident speedster for a number of years, leading the team with 17 stolen bases this season. He saw time at six positions in 2021, and his .268 average in 127 at-bats both ranked as career highs.
After another disappointing and premature playoff exit, Cashman and Co. seem focused on improving every aspect of the roster. The Yankees have already been linked to a number of high-profile free agents such as Corey Seager and Freddie Freeman, and as the market begins to take shape over the next few weeks, it’s safe to assume they’ll be at the forefront.