Clint Frazier’s epiphany hasn’t come easily or with grace. But his awakening did come in time to save his career, and maybe even a job with the Yankees.
Clint Frazier’s baseball career reads like a saga filled with endless episodes and chapters of intrigue, promise, disappointment, and retribution.
Now 25, he is three years removed from his first at-bat in the major leagues when he was with the Cleveland Indians, the team that drafted Frazier as the fifth pick overall in the first round of the 2013 Amateur Draft.
Yet, Clint Frazier is still without a job in the major leagues. He can claim less than 400 at-bats and no more than 69 game appearances during his three years with the Yankees. What’s up with that?
Like many of us, Clint Frazier has been tagged as a “late bloomer” by the standards we employ to measure the art of growing up and reaching beyond the self-destructive behavior that encompasses much of our youth.
Clint Frazier: The Window Is Closing
The difference between Clint Frazier and those of us who have struggled with the process of growing up is that our window stays open much longer than that of a professional ballplayer.
And due to Father Time, once the window closes for a ballplayer it remains shut forever.
It’s now or never. And it looks like Frazier has turned a corner, releasing himself from those demons who once challenged the Yankees on the length of his flaming red hair.
Or, when he saw no reason why he shouldn’t be able to wear Number Seven, the retired jersey of one of the most iconic Yankees ever – Mickey Mantle.
Or, the time as recent as last summer when Frazier was demoted to the Yankees Triple-A club in Scranton.
Thumbing his nose at the team, he took the full 72 hours awarded to report – instead of sucking it up with new-found resilience to return to the team.
Frazier: The Awakening – Too Little Too Late?
Something has happened to Clint Frazier between the end of the 2019 season and the beginning of Spring Training this year.
But you wouldn’t know it because he’s done the mature thing – which is to keep your mouth shut, play ball, and let your bat and your effort speak for you.
Clint Frazier is presently one of five Yankees who regularly show up at the Yankees complex in Tampa.
Two are of the four, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge are there primarily to rehab existing injuries.
A third, DJ LeMahieu, is there only to maintain a self-professed need for sanity in the absence of a delayed season.
And the other two are Frazier and Tyler Wade, who ironically is in line as Frazier’s only competitor for the job as the Yankee’s fourth outfielder.
And it doesn’t seem like Frazier is “showing off” for the Yankees – like look at me, I’m here when no one else is.
No, it’s more than that. Clint Frazier has crossed a threshold, and the actions are finally backed up by words he can be held to. Kevin Kiernan of the New York Post caught up with Frazier a few days ago:
“I think I got tested in a lot of areas, and maybe now I’m responding to those areas a little bit differently. Kevin Kiernan, New York Post
The choices for the Yankees between Tyler Wade and Clint Frazier, if they are forced to decide between the two, are vast.
Wade offers the Yankee’s versatility and the ability to play three of the four infield positions, plus the outfield. But so far, he hasn’t been able to hit a lick in the major leagues.
Frazier, on the other hand, offers a widely advertised “quick bat” that shows he can hit for average and power. But his widely known albatross comes with his defensive play in the outfield.
Clint Frazier: A Career Worth Saving
But the point is that Clint Frazier is offering the Yankees no other reason besides his need to improve defensively to not keep him with the team that moves North whenever the season begins.
That’s big. And if nothing else, Clint Frazier’s re-dedication to his chosen profession, without all the theatrics, ensure at the very least his trade value will rise, and wherever he lands the money, and the fame will be in reach.
Other than Gary Sanchez, no Yankees player has consumed more space on my blog than Clint Frazier (Search each on Reflections On Baseball)
These are compelling and interesting human beings as much as they are major league ballplayers.
Their stories rise above the usual “He happened to hit a good pitch” or “I feel good and should be in the lineup tomorrow” context.
Clint Frazier is 25 and going on 30 because that’s how quick it happens in baseball. Here today and (literally) gone tomorrow.
But amidst the 727 (seems like it) times, Clint Frazier’s name has appeared in a headline announcing a rumor of his trade from the Yankees, he’s still here alive and fighting for a job.
Can’t fault a MAN for that.