The Yankees' trade for Edwin Encarnacion was certainly a surprise, but what may have been a bigger surprise was the demotion of Clint Frazier to Triple-A.
Frazier vocalized his disappointment on Sunday, saying it was a "tough pill to swallow," and it raised many eyebrows as a possible precursor of a trade involving the 24-year-old outfielder.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman explained the rationale of demoting Frazier instead of Mike Tauchman or waiving Cameron Maybin in a conversation with Joel Sherman of The Post.
"There are a lot of inquiries if this was a chess move to set up an easier lane to trade Frazier," Cashman said. "It was a simple roster improvement (to add Encarnacion). (Frazier) was going to Triple-A when our guys got healthy and there was no spot for him. He has impacted us in a positive way, we are happy with his progression."
It is true that finding playing time for Frazier was already going to be difficult with Giancarlo Stanton scheduled to return to the lineup on Tuesday and Aaron Judge expected to be back by the weekend.
Frazier is able to play every day by being in Triple-A instead of being relegated to a bench role.
Yet the whispers likely will not go away about Frazier being a potential trade chip, although Cashman insisted the Yankees prefer not to part ways with the slugger.
"Of course I have had people inquire many times (about Frazier)," Cashman said. "We haven't traded him. We like him. He is like any player in any sport who gets tired of hearing that he is a possible trade chip. It irritates him. But it comes with the territory if you are really talented and are currently blocked (in the majors). That is what creates the speculation."