Clint Frazier is failing miserably since being anointed by Aaron Boone as the Yankees’ regular left fielder. A time-out is more than necessary.
When Clint Frazier heard from Aaron Boone this past winter that, with or without Brett Gardner, he would be the starting left fielder for the Yankees come April, it was as though you could almost hear the sigh of relief and triumph – as in “Finally, here’s the chance I’ve been waiting for.”
The road that Clint Frazier had traveled up to that point was filled with “foot in his mouth” statements, false starts, empty hearts, haircut drama, and in the words of Brian Cashman, the “sweetest swing” of anyone on the Yankees.
Fast forward to today with a look at Clint Frazier’s performance thus far in 2021.
Clint Frazier: As Simple As Pressing Too Much?
“Pressing” is probably the most common verb attached to those numbers by anyone who’s asked in the Yankee’s organization.
Typically, Aaron Boone is sticking with Frazier, lest he calls out himself for making a mistake.
You go with the hot hand in this game, no matter what their name or pedigree is, and as we know, Clint Frazier is as cold as the wind is for a game played in San Francisco in September.
The trouble for the Yankees, though, is they don’t even have a warm hand to replace Frazier.
It’s Brian Cashman Who’s Pressing
Mysteriously, the Yankees traded outfielder Mike Tauchman to the San Francisco Giants yesterday for a third-rate reliever named Wandy Peralta, leaving Brett Gardner (.194, 0 home runs, and one RBI) as the logical fill-in for Frazier until he regains his feet.
Unless, of course, Aaron Boone decides to end his self-proclaimed babysitting chores for Giancarlo Stanton, forcing him to earn a bit more of those millions due by taking some turns in the field.
Nevertheless, the salient point is that Clint Frazier needs a blow, and not just for a day or two.
The Yankees have the option to move Frazier to the 10-day IL, retroactive to whenever seems feasible, but just enough days to give him a chance to clear his head – away from all baseball activities.
What’s wrong with him? MLB will ask as they are required to do. Whatever the Yankees say is his physical ailment always suffices as an answer, no matter which team is replying to MLB.
There may or may not be something in Frazier’s mechanics that hitting coaches Marcus Thames and P.J. Pilittere have yet to uncover but given time to himself. Clint Frazier has been around long enough to figure it out for himself.
Clint Frazier Can Figure It Out
To put it another way, Clint Frazier has battled his way through five years in the Yankee’s organization since coming over in a trade with Cleveland as their one-time first-round draft choice (fifth overall) in 2013.
He’s ridden the trail from Yankee Stadium to Triple-A Scranton too many times to count, and if one more trip is necessary, then so be it because Clint Frazier is not going to let this opportunity pass by.
A few years ago, maybe, when he was embroiled in an immature behavior display, (allegedly) asking to wear Number 7, the retired uniform number of Yankee icon Mickey Mantle – but not now.
The Yankees have many problems to deal with other than Clint Frazier, despite the seeming re-awakening of their bats in yesterday’s 5-1 win over the Orioles.
Centerfielder Aaron Hicks, other than walks, has no presence on the team batting .153, Gleyber Torres is still struggling to find some consistency at the plate. Giancarlo Stanton, aside from an occasional power outburst, is hitting just .205.
Clint Frazier has been the subject of trade talk since his arrival in the Bronx, and it remains an option even, or maybe especially, today.
But unless the Yankees conclude that Frazier is suffering from a case of “NewYorkitis” and needs to be moved, thinking of that kind should be off the table, not only because his value in return is down now.
Yankees List Of Young Players Is Running Low
Clint Frazier is only 26-years-old, yet it seems he has been a Yankee forever. He is one of the few main-core position players the Yankees have left – and more significantly, he does not cost the money-conscious Yankees any serious money ($2.1 million).
He is team controllable through the 2024 season to boot before he reaches free-agent status in 2025, with three arbitration years in-between.
Aaron Boone needs to run Brett Gardner out there for at least a few days for the interim. Despite feelings to the contrary, Gardner has not run out of gas – he needs playing time to re-fill his tank.
Besides, what is there to lose at this point?
To be sure, there is always the chance of Steven Matz, a Met’s starter with a similar experience as Frazier, who suddenly turns into a warhorse with a new-found “head,” as is now 4-0 with a 1.32 ERA for the Blue Jays.
No, Clint Frazier is and always has been a keeper, which is why the Yankees have spurned a gazillion offers from teams trying to trade for him.
And if yesterday’s trade of Mike Tauchman is any indication of Brian Cashman’s state of mind these days, Cashman should stay off the phone for fear he’ll let loose with another ill-advised bomb of a deal.
Clint Frazier: A Time To Heal And A Time To Build Up
The hope, of course, is that Yankee’s pitching will continue to lead the team while at least some of the bats come around.
The absence of Luke Voit in the lineup has been profound and more than the Yankees realized. He’s working his way back slowly with a scheduled mid-May return, but there’s a lot of games to be played before then.
Still, the Yankees need to negate stats like the fact they are 28th in the major leagues in batting average (.210), trailed only by the Tigers and Cubs, or 27th the league in runs scored.
Perhaps, we’ll see tonight if last night’s home run explosion was a mirage or a continuation when Domingo German (1-2, 6.23) takes the hill to face the Orioles in Baltimore.
Lineups for tonight’s game have yet to be announced, but just as interesting will be whether or not Aaron Boone pencils in Clint Frazier – or maybe I should say – the accountants and statisticians upstairs.
I’m hoping Frazier is held out of the lineup, and this is only a beginning of an extended respite that gives him time to re-group.