How the Yankees can ensure playing time for Clint Frazier in 2018

The Yankees currently have a surplus of outfielders that could hinder the advancement of Baby Bombers like Clint Frazier. Currently, the Yankees have Brett Gardner in left field, Aaron Hicks or Jacoby Ellsbury in center field, and Aaron Judge in right field. Barring any injuries, the reigning Rookie of the Year, Aaron Judge, isn’t going anywhere. And the same goes for Brett Gardner in left. In short, the Yankees can’t do much about ensuring Clint Frazier playing time unless they can trade away Jacoby Ellsbury.
Brendan Kuty | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

With Aaron Hicks getting the majority of starts in the 2017 Postseason, it’s clear that Jacoby Ellsbury is no longer an everyday centerfielder for the Yankees. That could change with the new manager in 2018 but for now, Hicks seems like the guy the Yankees want in centerfield. Ellsbury just finished his fourth year of the seven-year $153 million contract he signed back in 2013 – in my opinion, the worst contract decision in Brian Cashman’s career. He also has a full no-trade clause, which will make trading him even more difficult than just the money he’s owed. The other problem with trading Ellsbury is that he is often injured and finding a team that wants an aging and injury prone centerfielder could be difficult, even if they’re only paying for a fraction of his contract. One possible landing spot for Ellsbury would be the Seattle Mariners, who were interested in signing him when he was a free agent but signed Robinson Cano instead. As of November 14th, Cashman has said that he hasn’t discussed anything with Ellsbury’s agent Scott Boras and he also said that Ellsbury will be the fourth outfielder in 2018. Effectively blocking Clint Frazier from getting playing time on the Yankees.
Ellsbury is far from his 2011 MVP caliber year with the Red Sox and he’s certainly no longer the player the Yankees thought they signed in 2013. Going forward, Clint Frazier will probably start the season in AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Jacoby Ellsbury will be the Yankees' fourth outfielder. Frazier was called up in during the 2017 season but mostly to fill in for injured players at the time. Unfortunately, unless the Yankees can trade Ellsbury it seems likely that will be Frazier’s role again.

Article by: Paul Alvaro

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