It’s part of the business, but keeping Clint Frazier stashed in Triple-A is becoming hard to justify for the Yankees
With only 25 spots on a MLB roster and usually only 12 or 13 belonging to position players, a lot of players face the unfortunate circumstance that there is simply not enough room for them on a team. Usually, talent is the main factor in deciding who gets that 25th spot on the roster and who must continue to grind in the minors, but in the Yankees’ case, they have a red-headed outfielder that has been labeled as having “legendary bat-speed,” obliterating Triple-A pitching. However, he has seen nothing but a few cameos this season and does not appear to have a spot on the 2018 roster, unless a major injury occurs.
Frazier had a legitimate shot to crack the team in spring training and would have had a chance to play every day when Hicks was hurt at the start the season, but his infamous concussions kept him sidelined until late-April, and by then, the team had an established, healthy lineup without a spot for Red Thunder. However, there was a consensus understanding of why Frazier was destined to begin in the minors after his spring training was cut-short as a result of the preseason collision.
With the calendar flipped to July, Frazier has had the opportunity to make his 2018 impression in small sample sizes. In 20 at-bats, he posted a .908 OPS while playing LF and CF and even batting leadoff in a game. His outfield and lineup versatility has been a big reason why the Yankees love Frazier as a player, and they have not been shy about letting the fans know how much they value him either. Brian Cashman did not include him in either of the Yankees’ two big trades last summer and has publicly stated that the Yankees would like to hold on to Frazier during their pursuit for a starting pitcher.
The vote of confidence from management and the talent are there for Frazier, but what is clearly missing is a spot, especially in the short-term. The longest tenured Yankee in Gardner isn’t going anywhere, Hicks has been hitting home runs at a rapid pace while manning CF, Jacoby Ellsbury is destined to come back at some point, and Judge and Stanton are two locked, long-term goliaths for the Bombers. So, in 2018 a spot for Frazier is nearly impossible to come across unless of an injury.
The following season, 2019, does not look much better either as the Yankees will only have Gardner’s contract expiring, and Hicks and Ellsbury do not appear to be getting moved unless the Yankees decide to give up on Hicks or miraculously find a team wanting their aging, expensive fifth outfielder. Unless the Yankees tell Gardner they won’t be offering him a contract past this season, Clint Frazier still does not have a spot in the Yankees outfield.
It’d be one thing if the Clint Frazier was a teenager stud on a bad team, was not performing to the expectations he’s supposed to meet, or still working his way up the ranks in the minors, but none one of these scenarios are the case. He’s simply blocked. Even if the Yankees find a way to get him on the team, it will be in a reduced playing time, bench-role that he does deserve to be stuck in.
So, what do the Yankees do?
At this point, unless the Yankees trade for that second ace pitcher they have been rumored to be in search of, Frazier is not going to be moved as the Yankees have the minor league depth to acquire mid-tier talent. With that being said, the likely scenario is that Frazier plays the entirety of the season at Triple-A, while continuing to get the call when the Yankees need him for a small stretch of time. However, there’s no way they can continue to do this into next season as Frazier enters his age-24 season, especially if he continues or exceeds his current pace in Triple-A.
The Yankees will eventually need to commit to only two of Gardner, Hicks, and Frazier and move on from the other. This won’t be decided on today or anytime soon as the Yankees are among the best offenses of baseball and don’t have a need to move Frazier unless a team calls offering up the aforementioned ace pitcher. However, in the meantime the Yankees are going to have a hard time justifying why the almost 23-year-old, former 2013 fifth overall pick is posting an OPS of almost 1.000 and is not on a major league roster, whether it is the Yankees or on another team.
Article by: Ryan ThomsFollow @RyanThoms_ Follow @BronxBomberBall