Yankees should consider keeping outfielder Clint Frazier for the 2020 season
By Derek McAdam
Three seasons after acquiring one of the top prospects in baseball from the Cleveland Indians in a deal for Andrew Miller, the Yankees find themselves in another bind of what to do with outfielder Clint Frazier.
Frazier is coming off a 2019 season that saw him involved in trade rumors for pitching from teams like the Blue Jays, Rangers, and Diamondbacks. The Yankees ultimately did not deal him before the July 31st trade deadline and walked into August with no new names on the roster.
Following Aaron Hicks’ Tommy John Surgery, the Yankees will find themselves an outfielder short for a good amount of the 2020 season. This makes Frazier’s roster spot an interesting topic of discussion.
Barring any major injury, the Yankees have a definite right fielder in Aaron Judge. This leaves two major gaps in center field, as well as left field. If the Yankees decide to bring back Brett Gardner which is likely, he would fill in as the everyday centerfielder until Hicks returns. If they bring Cameron Maybin back, he could be the full-time left fielder or split the reps with the returning Mike Tauchman. Tauchman can also play center field, so he could allow the Yanks to give Gardner a day off every now and then if they bring him back over Maybin.
But the Yankees also have an interesting situation in left field. Giancarlo Stanton can play left field, but he is not the ideal candidate to play there given his recent injury history. There is a good chance that he will be a frequent DH.
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This is where Frazier comes into play. He will be able to start in left field on the days that Tauchman will command center field. Even if the Yanks decide to give Judge a day off, Frazier can play right field.
The biggest question regarding Frazier is his defensive abilities. Frazier’s biggest struggle came in right field, where he committed three errors over the span of 36 games. In 17 games in left field, he committed zero errors. Unless Judge goes down with a major injury that sidelines him for an extended period of time, Frazier will be playing left field, which is where he has performed the best.
If the Yanks want to save themselves several millions of dollars Frazier would be an ideal player to keep as a fourth, or possibly an everyday outfielder. He proved last season that his bat is legit so he can help the offense a lot in 2020. The defense will always be a concern but if he was ever given the opportunity to play every day he could put up some serious numbers over the course of a full season.
The Yankees should definitely consider holding onto the young outfielder, especially considering Hicks will be out for an extended period of time to begin the season. At the very least he’s a cheap position player with a lot of offensive upside so they shouldn’t trade him just for the sake of getting rid of him.