This new version of Clint Frazier has the same lofty Yankees goals

This new version of Clint Frazier has the same lofty Yankees goals

TAMPA — “I’m going to be careful how I word it, because I don’t want to stir anything,” Clint Frazier prefaced a comment on Friday morning, and that, friends, marks progress.

I had asked Frazier, once again fighting for a Yankees roster spot, whether he had eyed the competition and tried to calculate his chances. Chances that naturally improve now that each major-league roster will carry a 26th player, as per a collectively bargained change.

“At one point, I was starting left field (for the Yankees),” the outfielder went on at George M. Steinbrenner Field. “And then at another point, I was starting left field in (Triple-A) Scranton. I have my eyes on that other spot (starting for Yankees).

“…So I think this spring training, if I could go out there and I do what I can do offensively and I do what I know that I can defensively, then maybe I’ll put myself in a different spot to not only focus on the 26th man.”

Consider this the 2.0 version of comments — more respectful and refined — that Frazier made a year ago about going after Brett Gardner’s starting left field job. Gardner currently will start in center field as Aaron Hicks rehabilitates from Tommy John surgery. Now Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Tauchman and perhaps even Miguel Andujar stand as Frazier’s competition.

Given the nature of baseball, the fact that both Stanton and Andujar spent most of 2019 on the injured list, you’d be silly to write off Frazier as he enters his age-25 season, wouldn’t you? It’s far from too late for the fifth-overall pick of the 2013 amateur draft to blossom in pinstripes.

Clint Frazier
Clint FrazierCharles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“Fraz has the chance to be a great player in this league,” manager Aaron Boone said. “We want to be there for him, continue to help him grow in this game.”

“He’s a guy that’s got a ton of talent, and I still think he’s got a very bright future, career ahead of him,” Gardner said of Frazier. “He helped us in some big ways last year. Some big, big ways when we really needed him.

In 69 big-league games last year, Frazier slashed .267/.317/.489 with 12 homers while clicking another 61 games in Scranton. As Gardner noted, Frazier, tallied a .975 OPS last April when injuries had hit the club the hardest, all the more impressive when you consider that concussions ruined his 2018. His defense, as you likely recall, proved nowhere as helpful.

“I tried to kick in the door, but I don’t think I kicked it in enough,” Frazier said of last year. “But I think I cracked it.”

Yes, he remains a colorful quote. In a Yankees ecosystem where controversy has turned into an endangered species since Alex Rodriguez retired, Frazier draws attention and generates clicks like few others. You could argue rather easily that stuff like Frazier’s famous spring-training haircut of 2017, his skirmishes with the media last year and his generally bold comments go part and parcel with the fire that he brings to the field.

“At the end of the day, you can’t change who somebody is,” Gardner said.

“In a lot of ways, I learned the reality of things,” Frazier said, summarizing his time as a Yankee since arriving from the Indians in the July 2016 trade for Andrew Miller. “But I also believe that if I lose who I am, it probably affects you on the field. And that’s the biggest thing, is trying to be yourself without becoming a distraction. And as we all know, distractions can linger.

“And I don’t want to go through distractions. I don’t want to deal with that anymore….I’m here to have people just talk about baseball. I don’t need the rest of the stuff. This isn’t the Yankees’ reality TV show.”

The reality of this spring is Frazier resides on the roster bubble alongside the likes of Tyler Wade, Thairo Estrada and Mike Ford; two of those four likely will make the club if everyone’s healthy.

All four figure to receive a chance to contribute, though. To stir good things for the Yankees. Might as well (diplomatically) aim for the sky, right? It’s the only way you’ll get there.

Source : Ken Davidoff Link

Follow 3-www.NET
Follow
e-News.US
  
Share
e-News.Us

Category Latest Posts