MLB insider blames Jackson (Clint) Frazier for Yankees' current left field issues

Oakland Athletics v New York Yankees
Oakland Athletics v New York Yankees / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

Two things can be true. The Yankees' 2016 trade deadline gambit ultimately didn't net them their left fielder of the future, and Brian Cashman has also had ample time to find a long-term left fielder in the years since Clint (Jackson) Frazier's demotion and eventual release.

But blaming Frazier for Cashman's misdeeds feels like a bridge too far. If Randy Miller would be smiling and applauding your take, maybe it's best to recalibrate that take.

Jon Heyman took the bait this weekend, reacting to Frazier signing a new minor-league deal with the Texas Rangers by relitigating everything that led to this moment. The post-trade hype, the Mickey Mantle myth, the concussions, the 2019 demotion, the concussions, Frazier's hair-length controversy, THE CONCUSSIONS...

Ultimately, the former top prospect has had a one-of-a-kind career that has sadly stalled in numerous unanticipated ways, leaving the Yankees without the long-term left field solution they'd hope they'd uncovered back in 2016, then again in 2020.

It's been a while since both of those years, though, meaning the onus is on the Yankees front office, not Frazier, to fill that hole.

Clint Frazier not the blame for Yankees relying on Aaron Hicks in left field

It's not a take that's divorced from reality. It's just a take that reassigns blame to the wrong party, especially given all we know about why Frazier spun out.

Heyman's headline was more salacious than the body of his argument. In reality, the narratives appear to separate like oil and water in the meat of his article, working in direct opposition to the framing.

"He fared no better with the Cubs last season, ineffective both in Chicago (.653 OPS) and Triple-A Iowa (.585 OPS). He’ll get another — and perhaps final — chance with Texas, where he’ll compete for a spot off the bench after signing a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. The Yankees, meanwhile, have been unable to add a left-handed bat in left field, something general manager Brian Cashman said was a goal of his this offseason."

Jon Heyman

Frazier's concussions are also swept under the rug in this piece; it zips from Aaron Boone saying Frazier had "earned" a starting job in spring 2021, then moves to his removal from the lineup due to "dizziness" in June (and after "struggles" at the plate). The dizziness wasn't mysterious; it had an origin point of a spring training wall crash. Though we can only say it with 99% certainty, it likely hindered Frazier between April and June, too.

The Yankees need a left fielder, but based on the way the organization reacted to every bump in Frazier's road, they never considered him a lock -- or even the favorite -- to eventually hold onto the job. Even before injuries struck, the team didn't seem to be too fond of him.

In essence, this hole in left field probably would've been Brian Cashman's burden regardless of Frazier's concussion issues. The only difference is how and why the team ultimately moved on before being lost in the desert.