To compare Clint Frazier’s time with the New York Yankees to anything other than a five-year long nauseating roller coaster ride would fail to accurately depict the ups, downs, and assorted twists he’s experienced during his tenure in the big leagues.
Let’s rewind to Opening Day. Aaron Hicks is in center field. Clint Frazier is the starting left fielder. Jay Bruce is playing first base! What?! Somehow, this not only marked the beginning of an exciting new season of baseball in the Bronx, but it also represented a long-awaited milestone for an outfield prospect acquired in 2016 as part of the Andrew Miller trade.
The scouting report on Frazier was no secret to the Yankees when they acquired him from the Cleveland Indians. He’s athletic. His hands are lightning-fast. He’s also … really not good on defense.
After his first stint at the major league level, the word “liability” got thrown around so much, it almost negated anything he could’ve possibly achieved offensively.
So … what’s next for Clint Frazier’s future with the New York Yankees?
The COVID-shortened 2020 season provided just enough time for Frazier to redeem himself defensively and showcase what an asset he could be offensively as he began to earn more playing time due to injuries. In just 40 games, he somehow eased our previous concerns with his defense, injuries and character.
From defensive liability to Gold Glove finalist, a complete Clint Frazier had officially arrived! Or so we thought…
This year seemingly marked the glowing white light at the end of the tunnel. Through criticism and public outcry, this was the season Frazier earned his rightful place as a starter in the Yankees’ lineup.
Manager Aaron Boone named him the starting left fielder in spring training.
Frazier’s swing was such a source of electricity that he truly seemed to be holding a trident between his batting gloves … but 2021 went as poorly as possible for him. In 66 games he hit .186. According to fWAR back in July, he was one of the six worst players in Major League Baseball. Yes, only five other players were statistically worse than Frazier.
Then came health issues.
Vertigo was originally believed to be the diagnosis, but doctors eventually ruled that out. In early July, Frazier removed himself from a game after feeling dizzy, and we’ve gotten very few updates since. And we can’t help but think it could all be caused by the lingering results from a 2018 spring training concussion.
When news broke that Frazier had pulled himself from a Double-A Somerset rehab assignment a couple of weeks ago and was being transferred to the 60-day IL, even Boone expressed uncertainty about the young star’s future.
When asked if Frazier would ever play again, Boone replied simply “we’ll see.”
With no hint of a timetable and no impending status updates, where does this leave him? Frazier has shown us enough on both sides of the ball to believe (if he’s healthy) he can have a tremendous impact at the major league level. But will that opportunity come again with the Yankees after the acquisition of Joey Gallo as well as Giancarlo Stanton’s return to the defensive side of the ball?
Even if Brett Gardner leaves, it’s unclear. Estevan Florial and Greg Allen might be more valuable at this point based on what we’ve seen from them this year. If we were to bet, though, we’d say Yankees fans have seen the last of Clint Frazier in the Bronx.