On Tuesday, April 5, former New York Yankees third baseman Todd Frazier announced his retirement from Major League Baseball after his career ended in unceremonious fashion with a forgetful stint on the Pittsburgh Pirates.
But don’t let that make you forget about his All-Star output with the Cincinnati Reds as well as his second half of the 2017 season with the Yankees that helped spark the team on the ALCS run that year.
A couple of weeks before the trade deadline that year, general manager Brian Cashman acquired Frazier and relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle in a deal with the Chicago White Sox. New York surrendered reliever Tyler Clippard and a group of three prospects that never panned out. It was the kind of deal clubs with championship aspirations make.
Frazier immediately stepped in as the starting third baseman, logging 66 games and helping propel the Bombers to the playoffs as a Wild Card team.
His numbers weren’t anything special — he hit just .222 with a .788 OPS, 107 OPS+, 11 homers and 32 RBI — but his outgoing personality, endless positive energy, and penchant for coming through in big moments was what truly elevated the roster.
You simply must remember this postgame interview after the Yankees completed their 0-2 ALDS comeback over the Cleveland Indians that year.
May Todd Frazier always be remembered as the Yankees’ spark plug in 2017.
Though he hit just .235 with a .610 OPS in that series, his lone RBI came as the tone-setter in Game 4 at Yankee Stadium. New York needed a win to stay alive and he put them up 1-0 in the second inning with an RBI double off … the worst guy ever in Trevor Bauer!
Then came his heads-up baserunning in Game 5 on the road in Cleveland. The Yankees were leading 3-2 in the top of the ninth and badly needed to extend the lead to give Aroldis Chapman some cushion in the bottom half of the inning.
With Frazier on first and Aaron Hicks on second, Brett Gardner ripped a single into right field and it was off to the races. Hicks scored to make it 4-2, but Frazier kept his head in the game. An errant throw by the right fielder took a bizarre hop and got away from shortstop Francisco Lindor, and Frazier booked it for home plate. That awareness got him to beat the throw by a hair, making it a 5-2 game and crushing Cleveland’s hopes.
Then, in the ALCS, with the Yankees facing an 0-2 hole, they returned to the Bronx. The Astros sent the unbreakable Charlie Morton to the mound in that one, and once again it was Frazier getting the crowd out of their seats to make the opposition uncomfortable. With two outs and two on in the bottom of the second, he poked a three-run homer over the short porch to give New York an early 3-0 lead that was never relinquished.
Though the Yankees would lose that series in seven games to the cheating Astros, it was one of their most memorable runs in recent history. And, in classic Frazier fashion, he’s wondering what could have been because he’s one to cherish these kinds of moments. He knew the Yankees were special that year and felt robbed due to the circumstances.
Though it was disappointing the Yankees didn’t re-sign Frazier and instead let him walk to the crosstown Mets, they had a valid reason to do so: Miguel Andújar was waiting in the wings and nearly won Rookie of the Year after taking over for the veteran at the hot corner. It all came to an end much faster than everybody would’ve hoped.
Remembering what Frazier did as a Yankee and how he made every moment 100 times more electric than it should’ve been surely makes fans wish there was that kind of personality roaming the clubhouse these last few years. This roster has all the talent in the world, but is seemingly lacking the “it” factor that Frazier so effortlessly put on display in an infectious manner.