Cubs cut Frazier, put Stroman on injured list

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NEW YORK — Rather than getting set to face his former team this weekend, Clint Frazier is out of a job.

The outfielder was designated for assignment in a surprise decision by the Chicago Cubs, who also placed pitcher Marcus Stroman on the 15-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation as part of a flurry of roster moves Friday.

Wade Miley was activated from the IL to start the opener of a three-game interleague series against the major league-leading New York Yankees. The left-hander had been sidelined since May 26 with a shoulder strain.

Chicago also reinstated catcher Yan Gomes (left oblique strain) and infielder Jonathan Villar (mouth injury) from the 10-day injured list. Right-hander Michael Rucker and infielder Alfonso Rivas were optioned to Triple-A Iowa.

In addition, Cubs reliever Chris Martin was reinstated from the restricted list after spending more than the maximum seven days on the bereavement list. His return meant the club needed to make room for him on the 40-man roster, so Frazier was cut to clear a spot.

The 27-year-old Frazier, once a highly rated prospect, was given only 37 at-bats by the Cubs following his rocky tenure with the Yankees. Signed to a $1.5 million, one-year contract, he was batting .216 with three doubles, one RBI and a stolen base in 19 games.

The emergence of rookie center fielder Christopher Morel and a crowded outfield made Frazier the odd man out in Chicago.

Selected fifth overall by Cleveland in the 2013 amateur draft, Frazier was shipped to the Yankees at the July 2016 trade deadline in a blockbuster deal for reliever Andrew Miller.

Frazier’s progress in pinstripes was slowed by a concussion and some defensive deficiencies. He displayed his impressive power at the plate at times – but also raised eyebrows with some comments that may have contributed to him falling out of favor with the Yankees.

Frazier set career highs with 12 homers and 38 RBIs in only 246 plate appearances over 69 games in 2019. Then he put up terrific numbers during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, batting .267 with eight homers, 26 RBIs and a .905 OPS in 160 plate appearances over 39 games.

But he plummeted to .186 with five homers, 15 RBIs and a .633 OPS in 66 games last year and was released by New York in November. He signed with the Cubs on Dec. 1, just before the Major League Baseball lockout.

Stroman went on the IL retroactive to June 7. The right-hander is 2-5 with a 5.32 ERA in nine starts during his first season with the Cubs after signing a $71 million, three-year contract as a free agent.

Stroman was scheduled to start Wednesday night in Baltimore, but the game was rained out. He has been managing the shoulder issue for a while, the Cubs said, and skipper David Ross said the right-hander probably hasn’t been completely right since returning from the COVID-19 list.

Seiya Suzuki remained on the injured list with a sprained left ring finger, but Ross said the rookie outfielder could still be activated this weekend. Suzuki was set to take full batting practice and is day to day.

Chicago began the night 23-33 and riding a three-game losing streak.

Max Fried loses to Braves in salary arbitration

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pitcher Max Fried lost to the Atlanta Braves in salary arbitration and will make $13.5 million in the upcoming season instead of his $15 million request.

Mark Burstein, Fredric Horowitz and Jeanne Vonhof issued their decision a day after hearing arguments.

Fried won a $6.85 million salary last year in arbitration instead of the team’s $6.6 million proposal.

He followed former Atlanta teammate Dansby Swanson in going to a hearing in consecutive years. Swanson, a shortstop, lost in 2021 and won last year, then signed a seven-year, $177 million contract with the Chicago Cubs.

The last player to win hearings in consecutive years was pitcher Trevor Bauer against Cleveland in 2018 and 2019.

Fried, a 29-year-old left-hander, went 14-7 for the second straight season and lowered his ERA to 2.48 from 3.04 in 2021. Fried was a first-time All-Star last season, was second to Miami’s Sandy Alcantara in Cy Young Award voting and was third in the National League in ERA behind Alcantara and Julio Urias with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In 2021, Fried pitched six shutout innings in World Series Game 6 as the Braves won their first title since 1995.