Tyler Wade will be one of the 26 Yankees heading North whenever the 2020 season gets underway. His main gift – perfecting the art of flying under the radar.
Tyler Wade’s locker in the Yankees clubhouse is almost in a no-fly zone. It’s most likely the last stop a reporter will make if he needs a quote to establish the angle he is looking for to meet that night’s deadline.
More often than not, though, Tyler Wade’s locker will be empty because he’s riding the Scranton to the Bronx express in between call-ups to the Yankees. Whether he’s here or there, it’s not likely anyone will notice the difference.
Unless that is, your name is Aaron Boone.
Tyler Wade – Aaron Boone’s Underrated Weapon
Tyler Wade’s numbers are pitiful. Three home runs and 18 RBI to go with a .197 batting average over 109 games and three seasons with the Yankees is almost laughable – like what is he even doing here at this level – much less with the New York Yankees.
But as you may have guessed, there’s more to Tyler Wade than numbers. And more to the point here’s what his manager sees.
Tyler Wade (with a tip of the hat to DJ LeMahieu) is the most versatile player on the Yankees.
Wade can and has played 2B, SS, 3B, LF, CF, and RF. Steady, though not spectacular at any of these positions, only seven times has he dropped the ball (errors).
Wade also has the fortune of hitting from the left-side in a Yankee’s lineup that is righty dominant.
But perhaps the lure of Tyler Wade by the Yankees is most secreted in his willingness and ability to fly under the radar – no matter what the team asks of him.
Which brings us to Clint Frazier, Wade’s most serious contender for the final spot on the team.
Save for Gary Sanchez, it’s safe to say no Yankee has garnered more back page headlines and stories than Clint Frazier.
The antithesis of Tyler Wade, Frazier has never met a reporter he wouldn’t talk to, or at least tone his comments down to.
Clint Frazier showed up at Yankees camp in Tampa this year – a new man. This time, barely a peep from his mouth, intent on talking with his bat, Frazier has once again caught the eye of the Yankees.
Frazier’s lightning-quick bat has always been the igniter of the Yankees interest dating back to when they insisted he is included in the trade with the Cleveland Indians that sent Andrew Miller to the pennant chasing Indians.
His tendency to mouth off and a slew of the Yankees team “concerns” remains a problem for Frazier to overcome – while leaving Tyler Wade as the least resistant and most reliable choice between the two to make the team.
Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner In Tampa
Oddly, or maybe appropriately, Tyler Wade and Clint Frazier are two of the four Last Mohecians still at the Yankees Spring Training complex in Tampa, Florida.
As does Giancarlo Stanton, who is utilizing the time off to work himself back into playing shape gradually.
Small group workouts are the routine now, and no one seems to have adapted better than Tyler Wade as he explains to the New York Post.
“It’s not necessarily what he is saying, it’s what he is doing,” Wade said. “I just watch. It is crazy how routine-orientated this guy [is] and how professional he is. If I look at the clock, I know exactly where DJ (LeMahieu) is at. His routine is so on point.”
The good soldier. Always in there and willing to engage and better himself. Tyler Wade.
It Should Be Frazier’s Turn, Too
Tyler Wade and Clint Frazier reach the distance between Earth and Mars in terms of their baseball skills and the attributes they can bring to a team.
Wade had the track record – the one the Yankees can count on with no hiccups or back page bullshit – and that matters.
But Clint Frazier has that explosive bat that, while never truly tested, can easily with enough at-bats, hit .280 with 30+ home runs.
The trade, if necessary, between the two for the Yankees logically rests with keeping Wade.
But the focus of the team should be figuring out a way to keep both, even if it means sacrificing a “specialist” reliever whose days in the big leagues should have expired long ago, in favor of a position player who can help the team every day.
Back to where we started, though, and if Aaron Boone has a choice between Tyler Wade and Clint Frazier, hands down, he will opt for the versatile Wade.
And unfortunately for Clint Frazier, the Yankees prefer a multi-dimensional and under the radar player (Wade) for their team at this time.
In another time (Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson), things might be different. But for now, the Yankees feel secure with a .197 BA.