On the MLB trading deadline August 31, the Yankees could be faced with another scenario involving Clint Frazier.
It will be another saga involving the much-heralded 25-year-old outfielder whose capabilities have been questioned since he came over from the Cleveland Indians for reliever Andrew Miller in 2016.
Over the past three seasons, Frazier truly has been one – if the one – of the major enigmas of the team. This has been an issue involving Frazier and the team.
Frazier had been labeled as a top prospect outfielder with a strong bat and an average glove. He burst onto the scene in 2017, but his flame wasn’t a brush fire. Frazier finished the season with a .231 average with four homers and 43 strikeouts in 134 at-bats.
it didn’t exactly ignite thoughts of another Don Mattingly. Would he be another bust like Shane Spencer?
His stock deflated the following year as he suffered a concussion and spent most of the year in the minors. The Yankees also had a boatload of outfielders that made his situation challenging.
Frazier sought to redeem himself last season. “Red Thunder” began 2019 with a renewed enthusiasm that led him to belief he had a more than legitimate shot at an everyday position in the outfield.
However, the spring training optimism took a sudden descent when Frazier was optioned to the minors to start the season. He received a quick reprieve when Aaron Hicks, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Giancarlo Stanton were sidelined.
Life appeared to have finally taken a full turn in his favor. That was until the Yanks acquired veteran Edwin Encarnacion for the stretch drive.
So, Frazier is at the crossroads again, maybe for the final time in pinstripes.
At a soon-to-be 26, Frazier can still be a valuable commodity to the club if they believe he still has value.
According to sources, Frazier could be viable trade bait, notably since the Yanks have to decide to sign Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton for next season.
He had gotten off to a good start this season since a recent activation with a .533 clip with two homers and eight RBIs through Sunday’s game, playing for the injured Stanton and Aaron Judge.
Brett Gardner is showing his age and is a free agent next season. If the Yanks really believe in Frazier, the left field spot could be his by September. He also needs to fill the role with his bat and glove.
His overall line of 18 homers, 64 RBIs and a .265 average in 408 total at-bats isn’t a ringing endorsement of a rising star. In his defense, Frazier has been a club yo-yo with their indecisiveness to had him a long-term assignment.
That could come this year in this unorthrodox race-to-the finish season. If Stanton’s propensity for long spans on the disabled list again surfaces, Frazier would have center stage to prove his mettle for a stable spot.
However, it could all come down to the next two weeks to see if Frazier remains in pinstripes and if he will find a new home.