Clint Frazier’s checkered past with the Yankees will soon see closure. For both sides, and for a good reason, a parting of ways may be necessary…
Over the last year, Clint Frazier has been the subject of my column six times. Some stories could have been written before that during the early part of his tenure with the Yankees. Like the big deal, Frazier made about cutting his flaming red locks Or the embarrassment of disclaiming his wont to wear Number 7, the jersey that’s been retired for Yankee icon, Mickey Mantle.
The story was later disproved, but the damage had already been done.
Clint Frazier‘s time with the Yankees has been one story after another, and all but one or two have negative connotations about a flaw in his character. To be sure, the Yankees have done their part as well.
In 2018, they played out the charade of Giancarlo Stanton vs. Clint Frazier and who was going to win the job in right field – right up to the last day of Spring Training when they cut Frazier. A battle few except maybe for Frazier believed was real.
Clint Frazier can hit a baseball. He has proven so everywhere he has played, including the time he has spent with the Yankees. It’s never been about that. It’s about trying to put a square peg in a round hole.
Frazier himself alluded to his feeling of not being part of the group. Unfortunately, he added he never sees himself “fitting” anywhere in life, reducing his plea to something akin to a basket case.
Frazier: Is It Just A Case Of Growing Up?
In some respects, Clint Frazier is 24 going on 13. He calls attention to himself and then when Frazier gets it, it’s not the attention he perceived it would be.
For instance, Frazier rightfully called attention to his demotion to Triple-A Scranton earlier this year. Frazier’s eleven home runs and 34 RBI in about 200 at-bats deserved and did receive notice among fans and the media.
But then, what does Frazier do? Instead of leaving with the usual and expected refrain, “I’ll be back, wait and see. I have work to…”, he does the opposite. Not surprisingly, the next thing we hear from the Yankees camp is that Frazier has taken the full 72-hours afforded by the Player’s Contract to report to Scranton.
Once settled in at Scranton, Frazier worked hard to improve his defense in left field. By most accounts, he is making progress, but it’s slow and not necessarily steady. Thought to be grooming to replace Brett Gardner in left field, Frazier found a way to bludgeon himself in that scenario as well.
Reporting to Spring Training earlier this year, the Yankees brazen outfielder announced to no one, in particular, he was there “to take Gardner’s job.” Oh geez, perhaps unwittingly, he put his foot in his mouth again. First, he’s Mickey Mantle, and now it’s another Yankee icon – Brett Gardner. The media, of course, loved it. His teammates? Not so much.
So here are looking ahead to Sunday or Monday when the Yankees power-hitting outfielder will be among the first Yankees call-ups when rosters expand. If Frazier can get through September without any more gaffes and he can continue to produce with the bat, there is a slim chance the Yankees will not trade him during the offseason.
But don’t count on the trade not happening. As in life, there are only so many “hits” any marriage or relationship can take before it crumbles behind its weight.
Brian Cashman: The Ultimate “Decider”
Frazier’s future is all in the hands of Brian Cashman. No doubt, Cashman still sees his young outfielder as a valuable piece in the trade market. For teams that hesitate given Frazier’s background with the Yankees, they can easily chalk it up to just those Damn Yankees and the way they do things.
Similarly, teams in the American League teams where the DH spot is available can rationalize Frazier’s defensive deficiencies. If teams don’t, Cashman will be sure to bring those selling points up, insisting he only needs a change of scenery.
I watched Frazier play at Scranton back in June. On that day, to me, he appeared to be dogging it. The last one to appear on the field before the game, Frazier looked horrible at the plate striking out twice, flailing at pitches outside the zone. Ironically, he misplayed a ball hit to him he should have caught.
The marriage between the Yankees and Clint Frazier should reach its bitter end over the winter. It’s interesting to note though, Frazier’s stats before he was sent down translate to 33 home runs and 102 RBI over a full season with the team. It’s just those other things that get in the way…