For the greater part of the last 10 years outfielder, Brett Gardner was a staple for the New York Yankees. It appears for right now that the Yankees are finally moving on from the longtime reliable Gardner, but they are yet to close the door on bringing him back just yet. Yankees manager Aaron Boone announced that for right now young outfielder Clint Frazier is the projected starter in left field for the upcoming 2021 season.
Gardner remains a free agent and the interest between him and the Yankees remains mutual. Frazier is expected to finally be allowed to take the next step and chance to live up to being drafted fifth overall in the 2013 MLB Draft. If Gardner does end up returning to the Yankees it will be for a much smaller role than he is used to and would most likely come off the bench and be inserted into the lineup on a situational basis.
At the age of 26, it appears that the New York Yankees believe Clint Frazier is finally ready to take over full time in the outfield. Frazier has mostly been a backup to veteran Brett Gardner and has been inserted in the lineup against lefties playing in left field, center field, right field, and designated hitter. The Yankees have a loaded outfield with Frazier in left field, Aaron Hicks in center, and Aaron Judge in right, with Giancarlo Stanton splitting time in the outfield and as the designated hitter.
Clint Frazier has been one of the top prospects in the Yankees organization since he was acquired in 2016 in a trade-for-relief pitcher Andrew Miller. At the time, Miller was one of the top relievers in the game and the Yankees were able to trade him to the Cleveland Indians who were going all-in for a World Series in exchange for some high-quality prospects. Frazier came to the Yankees and it wasn’t exactly what he expected.
When Frazier arrived at the Yankees he was still a very young player and New York was a very talented team. For some time it took the Yankees a while to figure out opportunities for Frazier to get on the field, but he proved to the Yankees that he has a very good bat and if they held onto him eventually his time would come.
Patience Pays Off
The Yankees are seemingly a contender every year and once the trade deadline comes around they have shown that they are not afraid to trade top prospects for veterans that can potentially put them over the top in the playoffs.
Having a player as talented as Frazier on the bench or even in triple-A just doesn’t make sense and rumors continue to swirl around the trade deadline that the Yankees should move on from Frazier as they have a loaded outfield. With Brett Gardner declining at the age of 37, the Yankee’s patience with Frazier is finally going to pay off as they are inserting him into an already dangerous lineup.
What Took So Long?
Most top prospects reach the big leagues as a major contributor well before the age of 26, but for Frazier, he hasn’t gone down the normal path. Frazier was traded from a team where he had a great opportunity for playing time and went to a team that was already very talented. Frazier needed to mature and it took time.
Although he was a top prospect he still needed to get better at fielding, more discipline in the batter’s box, and cautious running the bases. Frazier is an electrifying player on the field who sometimes gets a little bit wild. In some instances, the Yankees believed taking it slow and making Frazier earn everything would pay off. Finally, with the 2021 season ahead of us Frazier has earned the opportunity he has wanted for the past couple of years and the Yankees expect big things.