The Yankees did the right thing by naming Clint Frazier their left-fielder for 2021. But now it’s time to do the other right thing…
Yankees left fielder Clint Frazier is just awful this year, and there’s no getting around it. While the Yankees made the right call to promote Frazier during the offseason, it’s high time for the team to make another call – this one is a trip to the minors for a much-needed tune-up, both mentally and physically.
I just spent the better part of an hour looking up Frazier’s splits on Baseball-Reference. Hoping to find a whisper or two of success and hope in this area or that area, alas, there are none. The best I can do is encourage Aaron Boone to bat him in the nine-hole, where Frazier is 6-16 (.375 and a 1.125 OPS).
But numbers aren’t everything and as Hall Of Famer John Smoltz always says (paraphrasing), “forget the stats, let your eyes do the work.”
Applying that idea to Clint Frazier, would you agree he appears lost, the aggressiveness is gone, and with that, the confidence gets lost into a spinning spiral of defeat and lack of production.
Beset by injuries to their outfielders, together with the fact the Yankees are the hottest team in baseball (24-9 since opening the season at 5-10), Clint Frazier has been saved from demotion to date.
While the Yankees have refrained from making a move to send Frazier down, perhaps it is prior experience telling them it may not be the wisest of choices with Frazier.
Yankees Clint Frazier: Been There Done That
Yankees fans will recall the last time Frazier was sent to Triple-A in 2019, where he would 61 games before returning to the Bronx.
Frazier did not take it well, and that’s an understatement. Clint Frazier was clearly not a happy camper, taking the full complement of three days given by the player’s agreement before reporting.
I was there myself for the second game he played with Scranton, and it was clear he was going through the motions, misplaying an easy fly ball to the track, swinging with no enthusiasm while striking out three times.
Fortunes turned around last year for Frazier, of course, when Aaron Judge went down with an injury and Boone turned the spot in right field over to him. Then came the unexpected honor of being named as a Gold Glove Finalist, leaving Aaron Boone with only the choice to say, “Okay, the kid has earned it – he’s in”
Since the episode in 2019, Clint Frazier has done a lot of growing up. In between, there have been moments of introspection in which Frazier has laid himself bare to the public – as in this column I wrote in February 2020.
Yankees: Choices, Choices, Choices
But let’s face it, the Yankees are running a business, a cut-throat one less in which players are commodities, not their sons.
The instant thought now, is to trade Frazier for a power lefty bat (think Joey Gallo of the Texas Rangers) while he still has that adjective “potential” attached to his name.
Do the Yankees then start over again with (say) Estevan Florial, untested but with all the promise in the world as their left fielder?
Or, do they stay with Frazier as the choice has been for Boone, saying to themselves, “sooner or later”…?
These are heady choices for the Yankees and Brian Cashman to comb through, and with the Tampa Bay Rays acting like they own the AL East again with eleven straight wins, it’s not like there is time to waste if the Yankees are to continue playing their best brand of baseball.
The flaming red hair and boyish look alone is enough to make nearly all Yankees fans root for Clint Frazier. But even as fans, it’s tough to witness the total lack of production he is supplying.
A Final Thought…
Lastly, a thought comes to mind that could be helpful. Rather than send Frazier to Triple-A Scranton, where not-so-good thoughts are buried, why not send him to Double-A Somerset, where a laid-back New Jersey town awaits?
Would he eagerly accept such an assignment? Hell no, who would? But after reflection and a week or two, it just might be what the doctor ordered…
Here’s What Readers Are Saying…
Lowell Williams It must be very difficult to figure out whether a guy on the cusp like Frazier will be better off traded. Head, team, heart.
Linda Diehl He came to the Yankees saying he was going to take Gardner’s position from him. He worked hard at it, was given the job when the outfielders were dropping like flies, has the job but doesn’t think he has to work hard to keep it. Guess again. Gardy is doing way better than most of the Yankee outfield. Looks like it’s gonna take more time to get the cockiness out of the redhead. And by then it just might be too late.
Kenneth Faulk Time for him to get outta Dodge! Good riddance!
Chad Landsman Clint deserved the opportunity to prove that he can cut it as a full-time player and so far he hasn’t. Andujar had a great rookie season and his only issue was fielding. He got injured the following year and then last year. The kid can play third and left field and has improved in fielding in this limited time.
Joseph O’Connor Let him alone and develop
Susan Abbott I like the kid. His bats are warming up. He’s become a great fielder, is speedy on the bases and when the kid is hitting, has one of the fastest swings in the league. Let’s work on shutting down this long, painful Gary Sanchez experiment.
Kiko Matampale He needs to be traded, maybe he will be in the other team, he cannot handle the pressure of being a Yankee, it’s only my opinion, what is yours,
Salvatore F. Salamone I like Frazier. My impression is he tries hard, shows brief flashes of real skills, and busts his butt. He may never be great but do they have better right now?
Paul Farese He’s batting .437 in his last 6 games and his average has gone up from .141 to .183 in that time. This early in the season all’s it takes is a month of being hot and suddenly your average goes up .100+ points…
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