Clint Frazier has paid his dues for all the behavior meltdowns during his time with the Yankees. It’s time to give the man a chance as an NL DH in 2020.
It’s a virtual given that the 2020 MLB season will be short and sweet if and when it gets off the ground. Rule changes are abundant.
But perhaps the most significant change will be the adoption of what MLB is calling, The Universal Designation Hitter, including the fifteen National League teams.
The Yankees have more players than they need to fill the DH, and, if anything, Aaron Boone‘s predicament is to find playing and rest time for Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge (when he returns), Gary Sanchez, Luke Voit/Mike Ford, and Mike Tauchman.
Rosters will expand to 30 for the 2020 season. At best, Clint Frazier figures to be a sixth outfielder. For a good reason, the Yankees see Frazier as an insurance policy given the penchant for injuries in their outfield the last two seasons. But enough is enough.
Clint Frazier: Who Owes Who Anything?
It’s a slippery slope to say the Yankees owe Frazier a trade, and over the years, Clint Frazier has been a thorn in the side of the team – but if the Yankees have any inkling of listening to team’s offers, there isn’t a better time than now.
National League teams are typically not built to absorb a DH into their lineup. A quick pass around the league reveals the Dodgers, Braves, and Mets with players on their roster ready to step into the role, with Atlanta holding the most significant advantage.
The Braves currently have five outfielders for three outfield spots. Ronald Acuna and Marcell Ozuna are going to play every game, and Ender Inciarte is the team’s best defensive center fielder, at least until top prospect Cristian Pache arrives. Adam Duvall and Nick Markakis are currently slotted in as bench players, and platooning them at DH is easy enough.
As It’s Always Been, It’s The Yankees Move
So, the field is wide open for the Yankees to find a team with a couple of prospects, or as Brian Cashman has a knack for doing, a team with a sleeping dog like he did in snaring Mike Tauchman (Astros) or Luke Voit (Cardinals).
For the team inheriting Clint Frazier, he comes cheap making the major league minimum of about $600,000. He is a first-time arbitration-eligible player in 2021 and free agency cannot be granted until 2025. At 25, what is there not to like?
Truth be told, there is something missing. Clint Frazier has trouble fielding a baseball, and it’s the one reason the Yankees haven’t felt comfortable trying him out as an everyday player.
But if Yogi Berra, a three-time MVP, and fifteen-time All-Star can pick up a glove to play an adequate left field for the Yankees in the latter stages of his career, Clint Frazier can too.
Thus, unless he sets the NL afire this season and his arbitration price rises accordingly, a threadbare team like the Pirates have themselves a bargain over the next for seasons.
Or, they have the option of trading Frazier back to an American League team looking for an explosive bat.
Could It Be – Clint Frazier Was Over-Hyped?
But it’s the Yankees move before any of that matters. Clint Frazier was their prime acquisition along with Justus Sheffield when he came to the Yankees so long ago (2016) in a deal with the Cleveland Indians for reliever/closer, Andrew Miller.
A former first-round draft choice by the Indians in 2013 (5th overall), Clint Frazier has less than 400 at-bats since then to prove himself.
Blame for that is dual, and it never helped that Frazier shot himself in the foot with the Yankees and their traditional ways of expecting their players to “behave” in a certain way.
It might have taken Clint Frazier a while longer than most to grow up with a few more hiccups than some, but that sweet swing is and will always be there. Someone needs to pick the fruit from that tree.
Why can’t it be a National League team with the space to showcase Frazier’s talent as a bonafide major league hitter for the abbreviated 2020 season, primarily as a DH?
And who knows, he could blossom into a Yogi Berra defensively. Just good enough with a reliable and explosive bat.
Clint Frazier was never over-hyped – but he’s always been underused. How about we change that?