Friday, May 4, 2018

The Heart vs. the Head: What to do with Clint Frazier

On that fateful day when the Empire obtained Giancarlo Stanton - (Dec. 9, 2017, the emotionally cataclysmic 60th birthday of boomer icon, gulp, Donny Osmond) - amid the drunken jubilation along the Canyon of Evil, I recall one twinge of belly-burning heartache: 

The certainty that, now, Clint Frazier would never fulfill his destiny as a lifelong Yankee.

To read the future, you didn't need Tarot cards or tea leaves. One look at the Yankee roster told everything: Too many RH, streaky, free-swinging outfielders.

What's this, you say? Too many sluggers? Who could suggest such a thing? WITCH HUNT! But there it was: Too many prototypical bashers in a lineup already listing precariously toward the starboard. Frazier would go. 

In fact, Cooperstown Cashman spent most of January trying to trade Frazier for Gerrit Cole - an excruciating period in which the Head supported a deal, while the Heart opposed it. When Cole finally went to Houston, I breathed a sigh of relief that Frazier remained a Yankee... for now. And if not for the concussion that blew up March and April - at one point, the poor guy couldn't remember his cats' names - it's possible that so-called "Red Thunder" would be already gone. (Note: I'm ignoring that he's a cat person.) 

Yesterday, after Frazier homered on his rehab assignment in Scranton, the all-knowing, ever-analytical Mike Axisa on River Ave Blues opined that a trade is only a matter of time.

The Yankees always figured to be in the market for another starter, even before Montgomery’s injury, and Frazier is an obvious trade chip given the full MLB outfield.

Axisa was speculating - something we at IT IS HIGH never do, NO COLLUSION! - but then again, he's right. In the Yankee lineup, Stanton, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez are concrete pillars, set for at least the next five years. In both the short and long term, the team needs a pesky, LH-hitting outfielder who gets on base and disrupts pitchers - aka, a young Brett Gardner or Jacoby Ellsbury - not another bruiser. Unless he learns to hit lefty, Frazier doesn't fit.

Last night for Scranton, Frazier played CF and tripled. He's shown speed, power and quickness. With Ellsbury out until Doomsday, Gardy mired in a slump, and Aaron Hicks still doing stand-up impersonations of Zolio Almonte, the Empire has many reasons to keep Frazier in cryonic suspension, ready to be thawed. (And don't get me wrong here: All is good, even with the Yard Gard and Hopeless Hicks in their quandaries; this is NOT a crisis.)

But with every hit in Scranton, Frazier not only raises his Yankee profile, but he auditions for another team. Someday, I believe he will be a 30-HR bat whose uninhibited personality serves as the face of another franchise. He's going to be really popular... somewhere. Probably not here. And when he goes, we better damn well get a haul. 


Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...


This is the best argument I've read for shedding Gardy. And: I love Gardy!

13bit said...

Brian? I know that you hacked Duque's account, so I'll just address you personally.

First, please just release Duque. Let him go. Leave him on a street corner somewhere in Rochester or Utica. We'll find him and get him home. Then, please don't mess with the blog settings.

Second, you may not believe it, but we have compromising information on you, so don't even think of trying to deny your involvement in this kidnapping. Let him go. We'll let you retain your "dignity" and everybody is happy.

Third, just to humor the little scenario that you dangled out there: sure, trade him. But Clint won't be enough and you know it. I propose you do something bold. Tender up an "instant outfield trade," for those teams looking to rebuild for the short term and who don't want to have to think to much. One-stop shopping. A K-TEL Records offer: Ellsbury, Gardy and Red Thunder, all for the price of one front-line starting pitcher under the age of 26 with no injuries. But wait, there's more! We'll cover half of Ellsbury's contract for the remainder AND we'll throw in a mystery player, to be determined later, say, in December.

Anyway, we know you hacked Duque's account. You can go now.

Urban Farmer formerly known as DutchFan said...

Now that you made it so obvious for us (me) what happend to Duque, I can refrain from throwing dit. Thank you. Well, just to show
You only start seeing it, when you understand it.

I'm Bill White said...

I would prefer trading Sanchez and teaching Carot Card how to catch.

KD said...

Bumgarner for the Red Man straight up. nothing more (unless it's The Chief and half his salary). Otherwise we hoard this awesome talent as the inevitable Gardner replacement. Don't worry so much about LH/RH. The Stadium should be altered to take advantage of our talent. It's just a fucking building, especially since it no longer sits where it rightfully should. what I'm saying is move the right field wall back 10 feet, then move the left field wall in 10 feet.

The Bambino is long dead. Turn The Stadium into the House that Judge/Scranton/Frazier Built!

Anonymous said...

13 I like the instant outfield idea. Let's take it up a notch.

Mystery Team Gets:

Eric Flowers
Carmelo Anthony (from OK - They'll do it. Trust me.)
Mike Pence
Rudi G.
Clarence Thomas
Charlie Rose
Myley Cyrus and anyone who has ever judged on American Idol

We Get:

A good night's sleep.

Doug K.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Lovin' the outfield alteration idea—especially since the original, late, lamented Yankee Stadium never actually did that much to accommodate The Babe, whose power alley was mostly to right-center (though it did help Roger). Change it again!

HoraceClarke66 said...

Above all, though, I want to be Mike Axsia's personal accountant.

"Yes, the Yankees' outfield IS full, what with Ellsbury, Gardy, and Hicks. Also, your bank account is 'full.' Too full, in fact! I had to 'trade' some cash out of it for these magic beans a woman at the cattle market gave me the other day."

What a crock. Of course we should hang on to Frazier, who is just one tweaked gonad from becoming a regular.

Gardy down to .194. It concerned me at first that Neil Walker had a (relatively) good day yesterday, but then it occurred to me that that that might give him some trade value. And I guess they were lying to us about the extent of Tyler One's injury. Do they EVER tell the truth about these things??

Anonymous said...

Elisbury is not coming back. We can stop thinking about it. By the time he is over the foot thing and then does an extended spring training and then some rehab games he either gets hurt again in the process or it's so late in the season and the team is so established that he doesn't return.

They might have to eat the remaining 63 million dollars as well a la Arod. Wow that was a bad contract!

That said, the roster spot is more important than he is. It should go to Frazier. He is the Left Fielder of the future. At least he should be.

I read today that he played CF yesterday. That would be ideal. Gardner comes off the books next year. Jacoby doesn't return and the OF is a combination of Judge, Frazier, Stanton and Hicks (I still don't like Hicks!)

Plus there is no haul for Frazier. He's pure potential but hasn't raked in the bigs yet. He will. He's shown flashes but there's a reason we couldn't get Cole for him. He's safer than we think.

As far as the fences go... stick them on rollers and move them in or out depending on who is up.

Doug K.

John M said...

Hicks, as long feared, isn't going to pan out. Another great Cashboy project gone awry. Gardy is going to have to retire after this year if he doesn't surge into the postseason. Ells, as Doug says, is done, probably forever, for anyone.

So we need Clint. The big question is, how do we get rid of John Carlo K. Scranton? Because one two-dinger game isn't going to cut it. Not when the guy is striking out 75% of the time. Yeah, yeah, adjustment period, yadda yadda. He can't even take walks like Judge does. Essentially, he's a second-rate Judge, and that, we don't need.

But here he is, following in the footsteps of Ells, A-Rod, and Barfield. (Stop mentioning 2009, it doesn't matter.) How much better do you really think he'll get? Really?

Anonymous said...

I'm not yet ready to abandon Stanton.

Earlier in the year I made excuses about new team, games that count, new city etc. He hit two HR's in the opener inside a dome, and two the other day when it was muggy in Houston so I'll add weather to that. BTW this will not help him in October so if it's about weather he REALLY need to get over it.

I wrote about what I think his real problem is a few days ago but it was the last comment in a thread that got buried so I'll re-post it here with apologies to anyone who already read it...

It's his face. That bewildered "Where did the ball go? How did it get in the catcher's glove?" face. Sanchez gets mad. Aaron Judge gives the ump a look. Didi stops smiling. But Stanton just looks confused.

He needs to watch more tape. Not of his swing. Of his face. It's a loser face. No pitcher fears a person with that expression. Get some attitude!!!! He doesn't need a hitting coach. He needs an acting coach. He's from Miami - let's see some Scarface. "Say hello... to my bat"

Doug K.

Alphonso said...

There is another factor which plagues both Judge and Stanton.

Their knees, of course, are where other people's waists are.

Pitches just below their knees, which they always let go by, are called strikes when, for them, these pitches are actually low and out of the strike zone. Umpires are using an imaged ball/strike " marker" based on normal sized humans. So both of these dudes suffer from their height.

Nonetheless, it is what it is. They have to adjust or too often fall behind in the count. The umpires are not capable of changing. Their job ( until replaced by technology ) is tough enough. And, by and large, they do an excellent job. None of which excuses a strike out rate of 75%.

I never liked the Stanton deal. I did not want it and dreaded its implications.

I am, of course, yearning to be wrong.

Anonymous said...

duque is WAY off on this one--as off as he's ever been. Hicks is a stiff, and Gardner is sprialing into oblivion. Of course they need Frazier, and badly. They have good pitching options from within. Please wipe the panic sweat from your brow, duque, find some other authority besides a witless blogger, and come to your senses.

Anonymous said...

Trade cASSman's lackeys, Hicks and Drury, for pitching!! Fire cASSman!

HoraceClarke66 said...

I don't believe that Duque is saying we don't NEED Frazier. I believe he feels this is the sort of mentality that will get Red Thunder traded—and judging by Cashman's track record, sadly, he may well be right.

Me, I definitely think we should hang on to Frazier—AND to Hicks.

It may well be that Hicks will never fulfill what is judged to be his potential, and live up to those tantalizing few weeks he gave us before his injury last year.

But I think he HAS reached in a level wherein he always seems able to do SOMETHING—hit the occasional home run, hit a key single here, steal a base there, make a good play in the outfield. Above all, he now seems much more willing to be patient, and draw walks.

In other words, even if he will never be the superstar we saw for a few weeks, he COULD—COULD—be the next Gardy, a valuable fourth outfielder type.

Which would be good, as I fear that Gardy's days are dwindling.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Alphonso makes a key point about the strike zones. This is someplace where Ma Boone has to channel his inner Billy Martin (if he's got one), and get to ragging all over the umps. There's no other way they'll come around on this one.

That said, I agree completely with Doug K. on Scranton's "lost face." It doesn't help him. I feel the same watching him as I used to feel watching A-Rod's "determined face"—all that scowling and scrunching up for a key at-bat that told me there's nothing but a scared little boy inside.

And THAT said, John M., I hear ya, but 2009 or no 2009, A-Rod was light years above Ellsbury and Barfield. There's just no comparison.

Year in and year out, no matter how much we hated his personality or thought he wasn't clutch—and he often wasn't—A-Rod was giving us Gold Glove-level fielding and enormous production at the plate.

(And no, I don't care if he was juicing. So was almost everybody else.)

If we had had more pitching, and if he had been less of a whack job, we would now think of A-Rod affectionately, as a steady producer who was no more of a letdown than, say, Bernie or Tino sometimes were in the postseason.

Joe F said...

Come on guys lets be level headed ..Hicks at this point is WAY more productive of a player than Gardy. Hicks biggest problem was a terible first impression ....and the fact that in the Award for most games on the DL he's 3rd after Lames-bury and Bird. And that he"s blocking Frazier....who am I kidding.. Throw him overboard too!

The Witless Blogger said...

Every time I consider Hicks a bag 'o dicks he goes and does something useful.

13bit said...

Doug, I love your idea. Aaaaand, the mystery team could end up being North Korea's Olympic team. We ship off YOUR list of people there and all problems are solved.

I'm now wondering if it was Cashman who hacked Duque's account or, possibly, Satan - an entity I don't really believe in. Then again, when I watch the news lately, I wonder if there are dark, organizing forces at work that are greater than we are.

Let me leave you with this: the Yankees who are NOT currently on the active list are more important than those who COULD be. With the absence of bottlenecks comes freedom. Fortune cookie done. Back to real life.

Anonymous said...

Joe F. pulls the following subjective impression out of his no-doubt ample derriere: ".Hicks at this point is WAY more productive of a player than Gardy."

The reality:

Hicks's 2018 WAR: 0.6
Gardner's 2018 WAR: 0.5

Joe F said...

Subjective indeed... when you're working 80+ a week as a teacher these days, ain't got time for WAR or you will be in a constant one. Ample ey :)

Anonymous said...

Joe F.--God bless you for trying to drum some knowledge into the little wiseasses. I suspect you're not a math or English teacher--what is your specialty? WAR need not tax your pittance of leisure time--you simply go to baseball-reference.dom, and they have it all figured out for you. Takes only a second.

Anonymous said...

.com, not .dom!

Joe F said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe F said...

Special needs, which technically is all of us in a way but I digress... Saved the website.. Thanks