Chicago Sun-Times


And he realizes he likely won’t be coming back up with Cubs

- MADDIE LEE | @maddie_m_lee

DES MOINES, Iowa — Outfielder Jackson Frazier describes the Cubs’ decision to designate him for assignment the last time they were in New York as “cold.”

In less than a year, Frazier — who used to go by his first name, Clint, until a few months ago — went from signing with the Cubs for the promise of a fresh start to telling the Sun-Times on Wednesday that he doesn’t see a future with the Cubs after this season, and that was clear to him as soon as the Cubs DFA’d him.

He accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A Iowa after being DFA’d in mid-June because rejecting it would have meant forfeiting the remaining guaranteed money on his contract.

“Things happen, and I’m not really holding on to too much of what I’ve gone through already,” he said. “But, definitely, it was pretty clear whenever it happened what I was gonna do.”

Frazier plans to play in the Dominican Winter League this offseason, looking to boost his value in free agency.

“I’m gonna go down there with the hope of ending the season on a better note,” he said, “trying to give myself a better opportunit­y to have a shot next year at whatever it is that’s going to be offered to me and go from there. Because, certainly, it’s been ugly down here since the second half started.

“I’d like to prove to people that this is not the player that I’ve become; it’s just something that I’ve been going through.”

Since a 12-game hitting streak in July, Frazier has been batting .100 in Triple-A. The Cubs identified swing adjustment­s for Frazier earlier in the year, but his work has yet to produce consistent results at the plate. He said he has even reached out to outside hitting coaches whom he has worked with before for additional input.

Frazier always has had a bit of a hitch in his swing, his barrel tipping forward before he throws his hands to the ball. But the hitch has grown more pronounced.

“I don’t know how it happened,” he said. “Something that was so natural to me finally isn’t natural. And I don’t know how to get out of it.”

The issue compounded a rollercoas­ter season for Frazier. After a strong start to spring training, he started slumping. Between outfield platoons and a monthlong injured-list stint for an appendecto­my, he only got 45 major-league plate appearance­s before the Cubs DFA’d him.

The place and time added to the sting. Frazier had started his majorleagu­e career in New York, but the relationsh­ip turned sour, and the Yankees released him after the 2021 season.

He had signed with the Cubs just before the lockout. The one-year, $1.5 million deal set up the potential for Frazier to be a long-term piece for the rebuilding club. Frazier was arbitratio­n-eligible for two more years after 2022. He was also reuniting with Cubs general manager Carter Hawkins, who was part of Cleveland’s player-developmen­t department when it drafted Frazier in 2013.

“The biggest thing for me was, why did they sign me?” he said. “I had other chances to potentiall­y go other places.”

On June 10 he found himself back in New York, in the Yankee Stadium visitors’ clubhouse with Cubs manager David Ross and on the phone with Hawkins, learning that he had been DFA’d. President of baseball operations Jed Hoyer hadn’t arrived in New York for the series. Hawkins knew Frazier better anyway.

“We had a day off the day before, and to DFA me in the locker room, and then do it over the phone, as well, it was not the easiest,” Frazier said.

It’s standard for clubs to wait until the last minute to officially make roster moves, especially ones that can be career-altering, in case of changing circumstan­ces. In this case, it meant that reporters were waiting in the hallway outside the clubhouse, hoping to catch Frazier on his way out. They were asked to give him space to process the news.

Frazier still had a minor-league option remaining, but DFAing him opened a 40-man roster spot to reinstate reliever Chris Martin from the restricted list.

“We haven’t been able to give him real opportunit­ies to watch him succeed right now,” Ross said of Frazier at the time. “Some tough decisions.”

The club didn’t think of the move as a “goodbye,” but, in effect, it was.

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 ?? GETTY IMAGES ?? Jackson Frazier, who only had 45 plate appearance­s with the Cubs, has been struggling in Triple-A.
GETTY IMAGES Jackson Frazier, who only had 45 plate appearance­s with the Cubs, has been struggling in Triple-A.

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