Yankees, sometime outfielder Clint Frazier has made it through another offseason and is still listed on the team’s roster. And that’s about all you can say…
It’s been three-and-a-half years since this blurb captured the attention of baseball at the trade deadline in 2016:
But now that path has a different destination. The Indians traded their top prospect, along with left-hander Justus Sheffield and right-handers Ben Heller and J.P. Feyereisen, to the Yankees in exchange for left-handed reliever Andrew Miller on Sunday morning.
Frazier became New York’s No. 1 prospect, with Sheffield slotting in at No. 7. “Thank you Yankees for this amazing opportunity,”
Frazier said on Twitter. “I can’t wait to chase my dream in pinstripes!” time for a haircut! hahaha �� – Clint Frazier (@clintfrazier) Kelsie Heneghan / MiLB.com
Oh, those tangled webs we weave. So much – and yet so little in the baseball life of Clint Frazier has happened over the 1,283 days since that trade was consummated.
Clint Frazier: A Litany Of False Starts
Like oil and water, the Yankees and Frazier have seemingly always been at odds. Ironically, it began with the haircut Frazier joked about in that Tweet, when he ended up drawing unneeded attention to himself before the locks finally came off.
Then, there was the screwup with all the associated denials when Frazier reportedly told Yankees radio announcer Suzyn Waldman he’s like to change his uniform number to the haloed No. 7 worn, of course, by Mickey Mantle.
Up and down, Frazier went between the Bronx and Triple-A Scranton. Along the way, he quickly impressed the Yankees with his talent for hitting a baseball.
Then, just as rapidly, he caught their eye with an inability to catch a baseball in their outfield.
Finally, the proverbial s__t hit the fan when the Yankees saw fit to demote Clint Frazier for the third time following recalls to the team during the 2019 season.
The Yankees were anything but impressed when Frazier took the full allotment of 72 hours, afforded to him in the Player’s Contract before he reported to Triple-A Scranton.
During a previous stint in the minors, I attended a game myself in which Frazier misplayed a ball in left field, flailed at pitches striking out three times, and generally appeared to sleepwalk through the entire game.
Yankees vs. Frazier – A Stalemate
And so when we arrive at today the Yankees, though undoubtedly annoyed with Frazier, have not exercised a trade, and he remains on the 26-man active roster as an extra waiting for a role in the upcoming season.
Still, none of that talk is coming from the Yankees camp.
All bets are off, though, if indeed multiple reports are accurate indicating the Yankees are circling back to Cameron Maybin, who filled in admirably in the absence of Giancarlo Stanton and later, Aaron Hicks.
Although with a touch of arrogance at times, a player’s character is everything with the Yankees. It was the main reason they zeroed in on Gerrit Cole, knowing his head is as good as his arm.
Clint Frazier, at least by experience and his behavior, still is a boy in a man’s body. He’s shot himself in the foot more times than the Yankees have, by his estimation, mistreated him.
With the Yankees, you get points for being “good.” How many chances, for instance, did the team give Greg Bird, who tried valiantly and did everything they asked him to do during his countless rehabs – before cutting ties with the promising first baseman?
Clint Frazier has as much, or perhaps more, talent as Bird, especially with regards to his ability to bludgeon a baseball.
To his detriment though, Frazier remains a one-tool ballplayer, as witnessed by his off the charts career -13 in Defensive Runs Scored (DRS).
Frazier has not grown defensively, nor has he grown up. Or so it would seem.
Yankees: Do They Even Care Anymore?
Returning to where we started when Clint Frazier was the Golden Boy and number one prospect for the Cleveland Indians – there but for circumstance remains the ultimate question.
If Frazier had remained in Cleveland, would his story of false starts be the same?
We’ll never know. All we do know is the silence emanating from the Yankees camp today is deafening when it comes to their plan for Clint Frazier.
If truth is assumed, Frazier remains an afterthought in the mind of Yankees GM Brian Cashman. Perhaps, that can be outdone if Frazier lights it up in Spring Training.
But even if he does, Frazier still needs to show the Yankees, “Okay, I finally get it, and I’m ready to be a professional major league ballplayer – and a Yankee in the tradition of the franchise.”
I wouldn’t go out and bet the house on that happening, though…