The 1 Yankees player who never got a fair chance
The New York Yankees have found success in the 2010s, as well as in the 2020 and 2021 seasons thanks to a young core they developed, as well as underachieving players from other MLB teams that New York took a shot on. Not all of the players the Yankees have gambled on have panned out. However, there’s one MLB player who never got a fair chance from New York: Clint Frazier.
Clint Frazier was recently designated for assignment and then officially released from the Yankees on Tuesday. Frazier, drafted number-five overall by the Cleveland Guardians at 18 years old in the 2013 MLB draft, drew raves from scouts for his work in the batter’s box.
His MLB scouting report reads like one for a future All-Star, with scouts impressively comparing him to Mike Trout due to his unique combination of bat speed, raw power and speed on the basepaths. Such tools are what led Yankees general manager Brian Cashman to acquire Frazier at the MLB trade deadline back in 2016.
The partnership got off to a good start, as Cashman and the Yankees said all the right things about Frazier, with Cashman complimenting Frazier on his “legendary bat speed.” Comments like that excited both Frazier and the Yankees fanbase for a potentially lucrative future in pinstripes.
But things hit a rough patch. Frazier, who has long red hair, hence the Red Thunder nickname, was asked by then-Yankees manager Joe Girardi to cut his hair because it had become a ‘distraction.’ Frazier also made headlines for allegedly asking for Yankees legend Mickey Mantle’s number- he did not actually do that.
Headlines such as those angered some Yankees fans, who believed Frazier hadn’t accomplished enough to have such confidence in himself. But the partnership trudged along after Frazier made his MLB debut during the 2017 season, just as the Yankees were starting to fashion themselves as lovable underdogs with an easy-to-root-for young core.
The following offseason, the Yankees had an opening in the outfield. And what did they do? Instead of giving Frazier, who they had talked up as the next big thing for years, a crack at a corner outfield spot, they went out and traded for Giancarlo Stanton and his monster contract.
Stanton is a great player, but has been a glorified-designated hitter for New York, as he has yet to play more than 80 games in the outfield since joining the team. Those were innings that could have gone to someone like Frazier instead.
Look Frazier isn’t a better MLB player than Stanton and isn’t as beloved a player as longtime Yankee Brett Gardner, who also competed with Frazier for playing time during the latter player’s time in New York.
However, no one will ever know what Frazier could have done at the MLB level with the Yankees, because they never gave him the chance to show it.