The New York Yankees gave Clint Frazier some playing time in hopes of seeing something big. Yet so far, we haven’t seen anything that warrants kicking out Brett Gardner.
The youth have taken over the Bronx. The New York Yankees tested out young players this past season and were pleasantly surprised when they practically single-handedly carried them to the brink of the World Series.
One of the guys they tested out was highly touted prospect Clint Frazier. The flame-haired outfielder made his debut on July 1 and immediately went 2-for-4 with his first career home run. From that moment on, it seemed inevitable that Frazier would be the answer to an aging outfield.
But not so fast: let’s talk about Brett Gardner (of course).
Although Jacoby Ellsbury would end up being the odd man out, his contract won’t allow for an easy separation. Aaron Judge is not leaving anytime soon. The only seemingly expendable player pounding the outfield grass is Brett Gardner.
When the time comes, Clint Frazier will probably take over Gardner’s role in the outfield. But that time is not right now.
New offseason, same old Gardner trade rumors. It happens like clockwork, regardless of what happened during the regular season. In fact, Gardner trade rumors are as predictable as an Aaron Judge walk.
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But right now, they can’t let go of Brett Gardner because while they tested out Frazier, 39 games is not enough to determine what will happen in a full season. He could turn into the next Aaron Judge or he could easily suffer from a horrific sophomore slump, hypothetically speaking.
Frazier showed he has the power and the speed to moonlight as an everyday outfielder but the rest of his skills are not quite developed, which could hurt both the Yankees and Frazier in the long run. If they throw him out there without a reliable backup, Frazier could struggle and the Yankees would have no other option but to send him down to the minors.
While sending him down was smart last season, fans are rushing the progress of Frazier and will end up ultimately disappointed.
Parting with Gardner in favor of Frazier would make no sense this season. Next year? It’s certainly a possibility. But this year, Gardner is a veteran leader who can groom Frazier into the left fielder the Yankees will need in the future, as he once was.
Frazier has a lot going for him but we haven’t seen enough from him yet to think that dumping Gardner would be a good idea. His short stint in the major leagues last season showed that there is promise but unlocking the potential will take time.
That is time that will need to be taken in 2018 with Brett Gardner by his side.
Besides, how can you dump a proven player who has notched gold gloves and has been a pretty productive leadoff man during his tenure on the team for a player that has yet to show that he has what it takes to succeed in the Bronx?
I know what you’ll all say: how can Frazier prove himself if Gardner is in his way? The key is to give both Gardner and Frazier ample amounts of playing time where Frazier can learn the ways of the Big Show while still allowing Gardner to assist him where he needs it.
No, it is not a great idea to keep both on the roster but if we’re looking at the future, the Yankees want Frazier in the outfield. But they would be jumping the gun if they chose to dump Gardner in favor of Red Thunder.
The offseason is young and there may be some interesting developments to come. No matter what happens, it seems that heavily relying on an inexperienced rookie would only bite them down the line.