The ongoing support Clint Frazier is receiving from Yankees fans and teammates may not be enough to save him from himself…
Followers of this column are well aware of the ongoing debate that is raging regarding the future of Clint Frazier with the Yankees. Faced with a possible demotion to Triple-A Scranton when either Giancarlo Stanton or Aaron Judge return from injury to the Yankees lineup, Frazier is on the cusp of falling through very thin ice as the cause of his own undoing.
The proverbial nail in the coffin may have been fastened during last night’s loss to the Red Sox in which Clint Frazier misplayed three balls hit to him in right field, the result of which (arguably) turned three singles into two doubles and a triple.
Frazier was charged with only one error, but it came as a costly one that allowed a run to score on a ball hit by Eduardo Nunez that went through Frazier’s legs when the Yankees were trailing by only one run.
The enigma and frustration surrounding Frazier continued as he went 2-4, providing two of the Yankee’s eight hits. This raised his average to a respectable .272 with a better than league average .517 slugging percentage to go along with ten home runs and 28 RBI. Frazier is on a pace to hit between 27-30 home runs and drive in between 84-90 runs.
Clint Frazier And Gary Sanchez: Two Peas From The Same Pod?
What’s painfully obvious is if Frazier can’t conquer his defensive woes (quickly), his fate is almost certainly doomed with the Yankees. Minus last night, the Yankees have seen improvement in his outfield play, and as Aaron Boone testifies, Frazier continues to work hard:
Which raises an interesting question about Frazier. Is he another Gary Sanchez, who successfully fought thru adversity last year to become one of the biggest stars in the game this year?
As with Sanchez, Clint Frazier continues to have the unrelenting support of Boone, as well as his teammates, exemplified in this comment from Luke Voit: “You’ve just got to stay positive. The guys got his back. Everyone is going to make those mistakes.” (NJ.com)
Given Brett Gardner‘s age, Aaron Hicks‘ balky back, and re-occurring injuries to both Stanton and Judge, the Yankees need Clint Frazier. But at the same time, they can’t have what happened last night. The Yankees also can’t have what occurred following the game when Frazier ducked out of the clubhouse, escaping the questions he knew were coming.
Frazier’s refusal to stand up to his bad game is alarming because the one thing we have always seen from Frazier is confidence. Almost to a fault at times, such as when he proclaimed he was after Gardner’s job during Spring Training, Frazier has never doubted himself.
The Yankees Have A Way With These Things
That’s something for Aaron Boone and Frazier’s teammates to tend to, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Gardner doesn’t find a way to share a few words with the embattled outfielder before tomorrow’s game in Toronto.
This year is similar to last season when the Yankees were on their way to a 100+ win season while watching ball after ball slip through the glove of Gary Sanchez amidst a chorus of boos from the stands. Except when injured, the Yankees stuck with Sanchez and the fruits of their patience are witnessed by an astounding and league-leading 18 home runs in only forty games played.
It’s a call only the Yankees can make. True to form, Aaron Boone has refrained from any “gives” on the subject of who stays and who goes when the Yankees have a full team again.
But for now, at least, Clint Frazier is dressing in the Yankees clubhouse. He will not be demoted today or tomorrow, Boone will continue to write his name in the Yankee line-up, and Frazier will continue to doggedly work on his defense.
With the day off today, Clint Frazier will have plenty of time to think about things, and hopefully, he’ll be back tomorrow with all that youthful bravado in stride.