OF Clint Frazier
For the second straight spring, Clint Frazier will arrive at Yankees camp knowing that he faces an uphill climb to earn a roster spot this spring. Last year it was because he was coming off a season plagued by concussion symptoms but this year it has more to do with being near the bottom of the outfield depth chart and his struggles defensively in 2019.
Frazier played a big role for the Yanks offensively during the first half of last season hitting .284 with 11 HR and 34 RBI, but after being sent down in June he didn’t return to the majors until rosters expanded in September. Part of the reason why was because there wasn’t a spot in the lineup for him to earn consistent playing time but it also probably had a lot to do with his performance in the outfield during his first stint.
To put it bluntly, Frazier wasn’t a major league caliber outfielder for the Yanks in 2019. He has a strong throwing arm but he was poor in every facet of defending his position and that includes overshooting the cut-off man a handful of times. His lack of accountability one Sunday night in the Bronx after his worst defensive showing of the season against Boston also didn’t help his cause. After botching three balls hit to him in a Yankee loss he refused to speak with the media after the game. He was sent down less than two weeks later.
All offseason and prior to last year’s trade deadline Frazier’s name was included in multiple rumors but the Yankees held onto him because they couldn’t find a deal to their liking. Frazier will probably be on the block again this season especially if he starts the year in the minors, but the front office has shown that they’re not going to trade him just for the sake of getting rid of him.
Despite his lackluster defense, there’s no doubt he can hit at the major league level so he still has value and the Yankees know that. However, unless someone in the outfield gets injured this spring he’s going to have a very difficult time overtaking Mike Tauchman as the team’s fourth outfielder.
Tauchman is an elite defender who can play all three positions and he’s another left-handed bat so he’s a much better fit in that role.