Clint Frazier’s poor fielding in right field is a big problem, but it’s his immaturity that may cause the Yankees to dangle him in a trade.
Sunday night’s loss to the Red Sox was a veritable nightmare for Clint Frazier. His poor defense in right field gifted the Yankees’ arch rivals three important runs that allowed Boston to avoid the sweep. The truth is, Frazier’s defense has been an issue for manager Aaron Boone and company all season long.
Frazier compounded his errors on the field with an even bigger gaffe after the game. Instead of facing the music with reporters, he chose to exit Yankee Stadium without speaking to the press. That put his teammates in the awkward position of trying to answer tough questions about his struggles on Frazier’s behalf.
That choice isn’t going to sit well with the Yankees front office. The franchise preaches responsibility to their prospects at a young age. Part of that responsibility is standing up and owning your mistakes. Frazier’s unwillingness to do that on Sunday night is going to really lower his stock inside the team’s front office.
It might even be a big enough blow to put Frazier on the trade block. If the Yankees don’t sign free agent Dallas Keuchel in the coming days, chances are they will be looking to swing a deal for a top-line starter before the trade deadline. GM Brian Cashman is fiercely protective of his prospects in trades for immediate help, but Frazier could be a player he chooses to part with due to his inability to handle the media spotlight of New York.
In fairness to Frazier, he was never supposed to be the team’s starter in right field. That hallowed position was intended to belong to Aaron Judge before he was sidelined due to injury. It’s also safe to assume that a healthy Giancarlo Stanton would have gotten a lot of playing time ahead of Frazier in right if he was healthy.
Frazier was, however, originally intended to battle Brett Gardner for at-bats out in left field. His inability to handle the glove work in right doesn’t bode well for his transition to the other side of the outfield. If anything, he’ll struggle more in left because there’s more ground to cover.
Supporters of the red-haired slugger will point to his productivity at the plate as a reason why the Yankees should hold on to him. He is hitting for a respectable average of .272 on the year and he has helped the team’s offense with 10 home runs and 28 RBIs in just 147 at-bats. That offense production is still only good enough to earn him a WAR of 0.0 on the season due to his defensive blunders.
The Yankees aren’t going to rush out and sell low on Frazier after his nightmare game against the Red Sox, but his decision to dodge the media will stay in the back of Cashman’s mind when he is considering trade proposals later in the season. The franchise will never admit to dealing Frazier over his lack of maturity, but if he’s included in a deal to net a front-line starter in the coming weeks you can be sure it was a significant factor.