The Yankees, like any team, stockpile players in their farm system for as long as the rules allow. But hasn’t Clint Frazier reached the point of ridiculousness…
The Yankees relationship with Clint Frazier dates back to July 31, 2016, when Clint Frazier was traded by the Cleveland Indians with J.P. Feyereisen (minors), Ben Heller, and Justus Sheffield to the New York Yankees for Andrew Miller.
At age 34, Miller has since moved on to an unimpressive stint with the St Louis Cardinals, Heller is rebounding from an injury with no particular place in the Yankees plans, and Sheffield was traded to the Seattle Mariners in the deal that brought James Paxton to the Yankees.
Feyereisen is still toiling for the Yankees Triple-A team in Scranton, rarely if ever mentioned in the Yankees plans for their big club and destined for a future elsewhere whenever Brian Cashman gets around to trading him.
Only Clint Frazier remains in limbo in a purgatory of sorts, mostly due to his defensive liabilities in the outfield. Give him a bat, and he’ll roll out of bed producing runs.
Clint Frazier: False starts and empty hearts
Look back to the day when the Yankees embarked on a spring training charade of a so-called contest for the right-field spot between Frazier and Aaron Judge in 2017. The right man won the job, but it was Frazier who endured the brunt of being sent down a day before the season opener.
Oh, Frazier has shot himself in the foot any number of times, too. There was that flaming red hair versus the Yankees understood but never written policy regarding such things.
Then there was the ridiculousness of the story that Frazier want to wear the Number 7 uniform, previously retired by the Yankees in honor of Mickey Mantle. I misspoke, I didn’t mean it – none of it mattered when the story hit New York newspapers.
Still, it was and still is Frazier’s bat that delights the Yankees. The team found a use for Frazier in 2019 as a fill-in for injured players. Frazier responded offensively but fell flat with his defense in right field.
After 70 games played for the Yankees, with contributing offensive numbers, Frazier played his last game on the team June 16 until he was part of the September roster expansion call-ups.
And that’s where we are today. Reportedly, Frazier has worked doggedly in Scranton to improve his defense. But it’s hard to believe that should be a make or break issue with the Yankees, who continue to think that someday Gary Sanchez will shine as a major league catcher.
Clint Frazier is not going to make a difference on any team he plays for. He is part of the supporting cast – but a good one. For the Yankees, he is and always has been surplus and insurance against injuries.
Frazier has zero versatility in the field, so his value on the Yankees compared to a Tyler Wade, for instance, dives. Leaving many to wonder – why is Clint Frazier still a New York Yankee occupying one of forty precious spots on the major league roster?
Every time Frazier is sent down, the edginess increases. This was four months ago:
Yankees: The ultimate state of control
Doing the “right thing,” which in this case is to take the chains off Frazier, allowing him to pursue a spot as a regular in another team’s lineup, conflicts (unfortunately) with the business of baseball. Team control of a player under the current rules trumps everything.
Brian Cashman’s thinking is unknown, and it will stay that way. Plaudits about Frazier will continue to be heard from Cashman. And time will move on with no change in the status of Clint Frazier.
Chance Adams is in the same situation of being a bird in the hand that’s worth two in the bush.
It’s a baseball story. In another city in a different time, both Adams and Frazier’s career might be different. “Please, Release Me” might be the sentiment for both players, but the Yankees are the Yankees because they have a single goal and one question…
What’s best for the New York Yankees? Ergo – Clint Frazier remains in limbo…