Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier surprised by demotion to minors: 'It's a tough pill to swallow'

Over the weekend, the New York Yankees acquired veteran slugger Edwin Encarnacion from the Seattle Mariners. Encarnacion isn't the only potent bat expected to join New York's lineup in the coming days, either. Injured outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge are nearing their returns. The Yankees lineup, then, is about to look a lot different -- and better.

An inevitable part of adding some players to the roster is subtracting others. Sometimes, that means sending down productive players who deserve to be in the majors. On Sunday, the Yankees did just that by demoting Clint Frazier to Triple-A.

The decision was a surprise in timing, if not content. Someone had to go and Frazier, as a right-handed outfielder with options, was among the most obvious candidates. But Frazier was not the most obvious candidate. Rather, that distinction would go to Mike Tauchman, who remained on the roster despite inferior numbers to Frazier.

Let's be clear: Tauchman is almost certainly heading to the minors, perhaps as soon as Tuesday. Yet the Yankees' decision to demote Frazier first raised eyebrows -- including those belonging to Frazier himself, who said the move was a "tough pill to swallow" due in part to how much he's contributed this season. Here's more:

Frazier's demotion fueled speculation (and will continue to) that he's on the trading block. He's performed well at the plate this season, posting a 120 OPS+ with 11 home runs in 53 games. Recently, the focus has been on his defensive struggles and his relationship with the media.

The Yankees are expected to shop Frazier around ahead of the trade deadline, with an eye on using him to acquire rotation help. For his sake, here's hoping they find a deal to their liking. Frazier is a big-league player -- one who ought to be in the Show right now. It's not his fault the Yankees have more good players than roster spots. 

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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