Yankee's Roster Crunch - Frazier vs. Stanton (Photo: Elite Sports NY)

Yankee’s Roster Crunch: Fans Deeply Divided On Stanton vs Frazier

Both Giancarlo Stanton and Clint Frazier, in different ways, divide the Yankees fan base. How do I know this? Readers say so…

Within the past two days, I’ve written stories back to back about each player. The volume and the content of comments written by readers seen on a number of Yankees Facebook Group pages lead me to make the subjective judgment in the title.

Readers differed far and wide as to how they received, Giancarlo Stanton: Do These Yankees Really Need Him”, together with a piece titled, Not Again! Clint Frazier Is The Odd Man Out?”.

Aaron Hicks, New York Yankees (Photo: nj.com)
Aaron Hicks, New York Yankees (Photo: nj.com)

Readers tended to connect the two stories with many choosing sides between Stanton and Frazier, in effect pointing out the Yankees outfield is cluttered when both Aaron Judge and Stanton return. When that happens, Aaron Hicks joins them both with Brett Gardner as the left-handed and veteran bat in the lineup.

Which raised the obvious question…what happens with the Yankee’s roster crunch with Cameron Maybin and Clint Frazier?

Readers correctly pointed out that Maybin has no options left, meaning the Yankees would have to release him. Clint Frazier, in contrast, and if the Yankees choose to go this way (read demotion to Triple-A Scranton), is under team control until 2024, when he is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent.

By far, the biggest anti-Stanton sentiment came from readers who pointed out his inordinate number of strikeouts, especially in crucial “put the ball in play situations”, putting him in play as trade bait to alleviate the Yankee’s roster crunch.

Clint Frazier is put to task for his defensive liabilities, notwithstanding the fact he is improving and working very hard to do so.

Brian Cashman, Hal Steinbrenner, (Photo Credit) (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Brian Cashman, Hal Steinbrenner, (Photo Credit) (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Another anomaly surfacing is that several readers are quite aware of the plight facing the Washington Nationals and the ensuing possibility of Max Scherzer becoming available for either Stanton or Frazier, plus a prospect or two in the case of Frazier.

Hardly anyone breached the subject of salary owed to Stanton, perhaps believing as I do that’s a matter for Brian Cashman to deal with. And after all, he is the one who locked the Yankees into Stanton’s millions.

In any case, dealing Stanton involves not only the $200 million he is owed but also the no-trade clause he carries as baggage to boot. He’s waived the clause once to come to the Yankees, so why not again?

Yankees Prospect Estevan Florial Estevan Florial Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Yankees Prospect Estevan Florial Estevan Florial Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Another scenario suggests the Yankee’s roster crunch is solved by ditching Maybin, keep Frazier on ice in the minors as insurance against more injuries, not sign Brett Gardner for next year, leaving it up to Frazier to battle for a job with Estevan Florial, the Yankees highly touted prospect, in Spring Training next March.

That’s a mouthful, and we begin to see the complexities facing Brian Cashman and the Yankees if the team decides to maintain the status quo, in effect, kicking the can down the road. Add to that having to forego the intangibles Gardner brings to the team and the clubhouse and it gets even murkier.

A small portion of readers chastised me and other readers (read fans) who can’t resist playing General Manager, calling us idiots and in some cases far worse. To those, I say get over it. That’s what this is all about – the exchange of ideas and opinions. More often than not, we agree to disagree and there is no harm in that.

The upcoming roster crunch is not limited to the Yankees outfield. Didi Gregorius is due back sometime during the upcoming road trip to Toronto and Cleveland. DJ LeMahieu, according to Aaron Boone, will get regular starts spread around the infield, and this should shock no one given his ongoing showing in the AL Batting leaders.

Gio Urshela, Familia (Photo: eluniversal.com.co)
Gio Urshela, Familia (Photo: eluniversal.com.co)

You know what’s coming next – where does that leave Gio Urshela, the Yankees B-Bombers phenomenal “replacement”? As with Frazier, Brian Cashman has positive trade options given the disparity between the hitter Urshela was and the one he is now. For a front-line starter – coupled in a deal with Clint Frazier – who can tell?

Meanwhile, the Yankees as currently constructed are winning three of every four games they have played since their 6-9 start to the 2019 season. Can’t forget that either.

At 71 years young, I cannot recall a season in the last half-century of following the Yankees as intriguing as the one underway. And it’s only June 1st…

Written by Steve Contursi, Editor, Reflections On Baseball
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