There didn’t seem to be a cemented role for him at the big-league level, especially after such a tough and passive first few months of 2021.
Now? There’s someone filling Frazier’s role who fans are even less confident in at the plate, and it seems like the floundering offensive team could use the left fielder, as long as he’s feeling right.
Luckily, the Yankees announced a surprise rehab stint for Frazier in Tampa that began on Tuesday, which swiftly moved to Double-A Somerset on Friday after a rash of rainouts in Florida. Needless to say, fans will likely be more amenable to his impending arrival than they would’ve been a few weeks back.
Frazier’s roller coaster ride with the Yankees since pre-2018, which seemed to have settled down entering 2021 only for expectations to be reset entirely in the first half, could fill several diaries — or at least one Players’ Tribune piece.
Too often, Frazier’s disappointments have coincided with our highest expectations, and his most impressive comeback stories have lined up with his stints as a forgotten man.
We could be looking at more of the same if he returns in the coming weeks, considering how much the lineup has thinned out around him.
Clint Frazier might actually be welcomed back to the Yankees.
If Frazier has sorted out his vision problems — or was exiled for nebulous reasons and has now regained the organization’s trust — then he’s landed back in the MLB orbit at the perfect time.
Since he’s been gone, the Yankees have shuffled through outfielders of varying skill levels, from Ryan LaMarre to Greg Allen to Trey Amburgey and everywhere in between. Recently, the center field wheel has settled on Jonathan Davis, the former Blue Jay who arrived with very little fanfare on a waiver claim.
He’s been exceptionally glide-y in center, but has done very little with the bat, recording a single hit amid some very non-competitive at-bats. The fielding prowess seems nice, but most fans would prefer Greg Allen’s return, as difficult as that would theoretically be to maneuver thanks to his status as a COVID replacement and nothing more.
If Frazier’s feeling right, it’ll be far easier to put him in left most days, shift Joey Gallo or Aaron Judge to center, and ride with a three-man slugging outfield.
First, it was the slugger’s live BP that came as a total surprise. On Tuesday, he took the next step by rolling into a minor-league lineup with very little warning, his appearance announced only a half hour before first pitch.
We’re still not certain Frazier has a future on this team, especially after Brian Cashman’s trade deadline acquisition.
But any version of his future, be it here or elsewhere, should involve a hot streak before either side considers moving on.
Luckily for Frazier, there’s an opening or two at the MLB level for the time being.