July 2, 2016

Partly cloudy

Tribe: Clint Frazier signs $3.5 million contract

CLEVELAND — When outfielder Clint Frazier walked into the Indians’ clubhouse after signing his first professional contract Saturday, he was greeted in classic baseball fashion.

Every position player on the Tribe’s roster was wearing a red clown wig in honor of the first-round draft pick — and curly haired ginger — officially joining the organization.

“I thought it was hilarious and awesome to see a bunch of major leaguers all wearing red hair, just like I have,” Frazier said, smiling broadly. “I’m still sky-high about signing a major league contract, but to come in today and have them do that, it made me feel accepted right away.”

Frazier, who was the No. 5 selection in the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft earlier this month, inked his $3.5 million, multiyear deal early in the afternoon at Progressive Field.

The 18-year-old from Loganville (Ga.) High also took batting practice on the field before Cleveland’s game against Washington, and had private meetings with manager Terry Francona and designated hitter Jason Giambi.

“I remember playing as (Giambi) on a video game, so to get advice from him is more than I could have asked for,” said Frazier, who batted .485 with 17 homers, 45 RBIs and 56 runs in 32 games as a senior. “He has kind of taken me under his wing since yesterday. He even gave me his phone number, along with a lot of great advice, which I’ll take with me for a long time.”

Though Frazier was a third baseman until his junior season at Loganville, Indians amateur scouting director Brad Grant said the organization envisions him “playing center field for the long term.”

The 5-foot-11 right-handed hitter will report to the Tribe’s year-round training facility in Goodyear, Ariz., today. He is expected to make his minor league debut Thursday in the Arizona Rookie League.

Frazier was the first high school outfielder chosen by the Indians since Hall of Fame candidate Manny Ramirez in 1991.

“Guys with his talent usually fly through the system because they’re so talented,” Francona said. “I hope that’s the case here because I found Clint to be very polite and very respectful.

“I’ll talk to him again tomorrow before he flies out, but I’m impressed with what I’ve seen from him so far. Our scouts seem to have done a great job in evaluating him.”

Contact Brian Dulik at sports@medina-gazette.com.