Could the Robbie Ray for Clint Frazier talks start up again?
Rumors were swirling on trade deadline day, July 31, about Robbie Ray switching dugouts – the Diamondbacks were playing the Yankees in New York at the time – and putting on the pinstripes in exchange for outfielder Clint Frazier.
That trade didn’t end up coming to fruition as the baseball world was shocked to see Zack Greinke being the Diamondback pitcher dealt, not to the Yankees but to the Houston Astros, who beat New York in the American League Championship Series a few months later.
Frazier could end up in the desert after all if an ESPN senior writer’s blockbuster proposal comes true.
David Schoenfield released an article on Wednesday dreaming up one blockbuster signing or trade for every team.
He put the Yankees and Diamondbacks as trade partners with Ray going to New York for Frazier, straight up.
This would be less than what the Diamondbacks were reportedly asking for when discussions originally took place.
Jon Heyman tweeted on July 31 that the Diamondbacks were asking for Frazier in addition to three prospects for Ray. In the tweet he added, “that’s not happening” with Heyman citing fellow writer Bob Nightengale calling the talks dead.
Dbacks asked the Yankees for Clint Frazier plus 3 prospects for Robbie Ray. That’s not happening. Sides very far apart @BNightengale called talk dead
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 31, 2019
Ray’s value has certainly decreased in the last few months.
The 28-year-old left-hander dealt with injuries at the end of the season and had a 5.56 ERA from Aug. 3 until his final start on Sept. 28. He also now only has one year of control left, serving basically as a rental player for the 2020 season.
Although, Frazier didn’t do too much to increase his value at the end of the season either.
The 25-year-old played in 16 games the final month of the season and hit .176 with one home run and four RBIs, striking out in 11 of his 34 at-bats.
Frazier did do an admirable job covering for the injured Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton through the first few months of the season, however, hitting .283 in 51 games with 11 home runs and 34 RBIs.
Once Edwin Encarnacion was acquired from the Seattle Mariners in June, Frazier was sent to the minors, at the time calling the move, “surprising”.
Clint Frazier: It’s a tough pill to swallow. It’s never fun, especially with how much I felt like I’ve contributed to the team this year. pic.twitter.com/V3lxQ9f5EQ
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) June 16, 2019
It appeared Frazier was happy to remain a Yankee, however, posting this after the trade deadline passed.
— Clint Frazier (@clintfrazier) July 31, 2019
Schoenfield said Frazier could fill the Diamondbacks’ need for an outfielder until Alek Thomas (the team’s #1 overall prospect according to MLB.com), Kristian Robinson and Corbin Carroll are ready to make their debut a few years down the road.
Arizona didn’t tender a contract to Steven Souza Jr. on Monday and have yet to re-sign Adam Jones, leaving a gaping hole in right field.
The Diamondbacks would be getting five years of control with Frazier as he is not set to hit the free agent market until 2025. He becomes arbitrational eligible in 2021.
The move would also save the Diamondbacks quite a bit of money with Ray scheduled to make over $10 million in 2020, according to Spotrac.
Meanwhile, Schoenfield mentioned the Yankees would like to see what new pitching coach Matt Blake and the analytics staff could do with Ray, who racks up strikeouts (a career-high 235 in 2019) but also struggles with walks, having 84 in 174.1 innings pitched last season.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard Ray’s name pop up in trade predictions this offseason and it surely won’t be the last. Columnist Jay Jaffe said earlier the Diamondbacks would be a playoff team in 2020 if they trade Ray to the Chicago Cubs in a package for outfielder Kyle Schwarber.