Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Clint Frazier is the Pete Davidson of the Yankees

Yep, here's your IT IS HIGH Abstract Analogy of the Month: Clint Frazier is the Pete Davidson of the 2019 Yankees.  

Both are young, charismatic, overconfident and with a detrimental talent for capturing attention.  

If you never stay up past 11 p.m., Davidson is the youngest member of the Saturday Night Live cast, who spent the last year a) being engaged to and then dumped by Ariana Grande, b) siring 45-year-old Kate Beckinsale, who puts the "ILF" in MILF, c) picking a fight with a gracious war hero, and d) posting a bizarre note on Instagram that raised concerns about suicide. The guy is a media magnet. He's funny, but not that funny. There is simply a charm - a broad look-at-me grin - that pulls in people. You root for him.

Frazier has it, too. He always looked destined for the lights of NYC. His beaming smile leads the way, and whatever he does becomes media fodder, far greater than his footprint deserves. When he arrived, Frazier jokingly asked for number 7, and the writers made it a thing. He grew his red hair too long, and that became a thing. He became "Red Thunder," a doofus nickname, and when he asked that it be dropped, that became a thing. Lord knows what will happen when he inevitably shacks up with a supermodel - a sure Defcon 4 moment for Gotham's paparazzi. He's good, but not that good. Still, we root for him.

But something is wrong here. Davidson is running too fast for his own good. Meanwhile, Frazier the other night picked the worst time imaginable - on national TV, no less - to look like Soupy Sales in RF. Then, he compounded everything by refusing to speak with reporters. Bad idea. Today, it's the lead Yankee story in the Times. If the knives come out, he's done.

I want to believe that Frazier has not yet crossed an invisible Rubicon, destined to go in a trade. But his toes are in the water. If not for the insanely, Ellsburian nightmare injuries to Giancarlo Stanton, Frazier might have spent the last three months in Scranton. He shows a MLB bat and a glove that belongs in a Fellini movie. Frankly, he cannot be as bad as he looked Sunday. But the next time he plays in the outfield, and a fly ball comes his way, who won't be holding their breath?

I hope Frazier can step back from the precipice. If we trade him for a salary dump pitcher, we will regret it for a long time. He could be this generation's Jay Buhner. But nothing would surprise me. Last night, the Yankees looked deathly cold, reminding us that what goes up always must come down. We've been due for a correction, just as the Blue Jays (who had lost six in a row) were due to win a game. You could feel it all the way. 

Once again, our starter failed to go long enough to spare the bullpen. We can't keep going like this. The Death Star's history during bad stretches is to make disastrous deals, and Frazier is the shiny object in front of Hal Steinbrenner's eyes. Many teams would happily take him, especially if it means clearing a nasty contract from their payroll. This would be a shame, because I've lost all confidence in Stanton. Three months of recurring injuries is unacceptable. In that regard, I am become Miami.

The next few days could settle this. If the Yankees fail to sign Dallas Keuchel, a big trade becomes almost inevitable. And Frazier looks like the key to everything. Hold your breaths...

One other point today: Didi Gregorius is said to be on the verge of returning, maybe by the weekend. Woo-woo. Everybody loves Ser Didi. Everybody will welcome him back. Everyone will rejoice. But here's a bracer: Didi is 1-for-21 in Scranton, he took a big 0-for-5 last night, and Aaron Boone better show more forethought than he did with Aaron Hicks over the last two weeks. Only now is Hicks starting to hit, but he's been a lead bowling ball in the middle of our batting order - the killer of rallies. In the eighth against Boston Sunday, his failure with the bases loaded pulled the plug on our comeback. The number doesn't lie: He's hitting .224.

The Yankees cannot afford to slap Didi into the three-spot and watch him go 0-for-30, while he convalesces. Bat him eighth, even ninth. The same goes for china doll Stanton, if and when he ever returns - and maybe even Aaron Judge (though he is a special case.) We don't need these human fried mozzarella sticks clogging our arteries, or our basepaths. And we sure don't need them forcing a trade of Clint Frazier. (As long as he doesn't shack up with Ariana Grande; if that happens, he's done.) 


TheWinWarblist said...

Le Grande Rouge! Or is he Le Grande Rogue?


The Ghost Of Yankees Past said...

Good reference to Soupy Sales. Frazier might as well have been doing the Mouse in right field the other night. But you gotta give the kid some time to fully develop.

Once we get healthy in the outfield, sometime in PA to refine his defense would be a positive for him. Let him go through his growing pains away from the bright lights. There are enough positives that he is worth holding on to and seeing how he develops.

Publius said...

Another trip to Scranton will have him asking for a trade.

13bit said...

Send him to Scranton, pump him up with some Thorazine for a month, sit him at the end of the bench with a pacifier in his mouth and videotape the whole thing. Put the footage in a locked cabinet after you show it to him once. Then, tell him what to do and not to do. Also, can Larry Rothschild while there is still time.

HoraceClarke66 said...

If it were just a matter of the fielding yips, Duque, I'd be with you. But I can't stand the "True Confessions."

I didn't much care for the soap opera aspects of the Bronx Zoo, back in the day, but at least those guys delivered. Were there ever more clutch Yankees than Jackson and Munson?

I also have a low estimate of our Mr. Stanton. But to his credit, when he came here and was immediately booed, and unfairly bashed by the media—"Stanton wants to stay at home and get his furniture delivered!"—he took it without a word.

The Mad George years, the A-Rod nonsense, the Joba Rules, all these Jacobys and Pavanos who can never quite seem to recover...I'm done. Give me some men who are stouthearted men.

"He saith among the trumpets, Ha ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting."

I want some Ha-haing out there.

Carl J. Weitz said...

I'm going to have to remember that line: "she puts the ILF in MILF". I'm going to borrow it.

Referencing Soupy Sales and Frazier in the same connection reminds me of that recurring skit on the Soupy Sales show with Frank Nastasi as the always unseen "guy at the door", hands flailing in desperate voice:

Knock at the front door-

Guy: "Soupy, Soupy, you gotta help me, it's my wife!

Soupy:(laughing) "Again? What's the matter this time"?

Guy: "Oh, this time she's really flipped out....she thinks she a fumbling outfielder for a MLB team"! "She's out of her mind"!!

Soupy: "Okay....then why don't you take her to a psychiatrist"?

Guy: " What??? Then who is gonna bat seventh for the Yankees"????

Alibi Ike said...

How do you know when you've crossed an Invisible Rubicon?

Anonymous said...

I feel bad for him.

He says he has trouble fitting in. Is there no one here who can relate to that? Not even a little?

After he hit the homer last night I noticed that the bench reaction was muted. It was tough to watch the perfunctory congratulations.
I chalked it up to the skipping the media the other night but apparently it goes deeper than that.

Bottom Line: He's probably gone. And while that may be a good thing for "team chemistry" and yes, who needs the drama? But it's not a good thing for him and it's too bad it will probably work out that way. Kid's a good hitter.

Doug K.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the New York sports media sadistic orgy du jour: the crucifiction of Clint Frazier. He was embarrassed at screwing up on national TV and so didn't want to deal with a sadistic wolf pack after the game--entirely understandable. There are great players in the Hall of Fame who blew off reporters for years at a time: guys like Steve Carleton and Ted Williams. So Frazier's blowing them off for one night is a capital crime? Guys have retreated to the massage room after bad outings since forever in this sport. Big fucking deal. Before that night, he had been consistently patient and affable with the hounds of the press, unlike surly prima donnas like Manny Machado. So fucking what?

The Yankees aren't going to trade him. His defensive problems are a consequence of his concussion--he never had these kinds of issues before. He'll get over them. It's the media jackal pack--an assortment of mediocrities and hangers-on who have never excelled at anything but second-guessing and schadenfreude and groveling to management in exchange for a lifetime of stuffing their pieholes in the press dining room--who need to get over THEMselves. Clint is to be applauded for having the guts to tell them to go shit in their hats. Unlike them, he doesn't grovel. He's got tons of guts and superb character. Plus he likes cats. I'm rooting for him, even if the professional hacks and losers of the press corps aren't. Any true Yankee fan who values independence of spirit should be rooting for him too.

Anonymous said...

Niced take on the Frazier affair:

Buhner's Ghost said...

Mr. Duque, you are out of line, sir! I KNOW Jay Buhner, and Clint Frazier is no Jay Buhner.

Carl J. Weitz said...

Anonymous....well said!

I think this blog is one place where everyone is rooting for Clint Frazier. I believe the only concern most here are expressing (not everyone, of course) is the fear that he will turn into a Steve Sax, Mackey Sasser or Ed Whitson type of player because emotionally he can't deal with the media or fans of New York. We have seen it so often that it's almost reflexive thought.

I like individuality unless it goes too far and turns into narcissism or selfish egotism. So far, this is not the case with Clint. He seems like a genuinely nice person and I hope he overcomes whatever difficulties that have arisen. I don't see it as concussion-related but there is no way I can be sure of that. If it is anxiety, I hope he is mature enough to talk to a professional.

Anonymous said...

nice take--typo

HoraceClarke66 said...

I completely agree that the vast majority of the sporting press are a bunch of second-rate buffoons, too lazy or stupid to understand the games they cover everyday—especially baseball—and nearly addicted to whatever controversy they can dig up.

Hence, "Hey, it's not his job to talk to us but then other guys have to talk to us so he's hurting the team" exercise in tautological anti-logic.

I also agree that the press attitude has sadly made people such as Derek Jeter into p.r. robots adept at saying nothing. Which, of course, Joel Sherman ALSO has the bald-faced audacity to complain about.

And I agree that breaking into the major leagues is not easy. Especially when you have suffered a couple of concussions early on.


Anonymous said...

HC66--but what? You want to have it both ways? I'd hardly be surprised to see you running with a groupthink jackal pack on this subject.

JM said...

Jesus H. Christadora House, I couldn't care less what he says or doesn't or who he does or doesn't talk to at any specific point in time. I care about what he does on the field.

On the other hand, we need starters. Badly.

So, it's just a matter of who wants who for whom. Fine, as long as we don't choke in the second half like last year when it really matters.

Of course, as we all know, every Yankees game really matters. But some games matter more than others. Orwell knew it, Suzyn knows it, we know it.

There's just no way we're going to keep all of the bright new lights, bright old lights, and minor league lights and fix the rotation. I've got used to the idea. Somebody's gonna go, and maybe more than one somebody.

I just hope it's worth it.

HoraceClarke66 said... the same time there has always been, historically, a species of player that has specialized in making things worse for themselves when they came to New York.

Certainly Reggie was that, until he let his bat do his talking for him. Certainly A-Rod was—and weirdly, even AFTER his bat won his team a ring.

Roger Maris suffered through all sorts of slings and arrows that were completely outrageous. BUT he had rabbit ears the size of Harvey's, and constantly held grudges, picked fights, and found every possible way to be offended.

He was, as Brendan Gill once said of John O'Hara, "a master of the imagined slight"—as well as a constant over-reactor to very real slights.

Frazier seems to be that sort of player. He's still mad that the press invented the "he wants No. 7" story (if it did)? He's still mad about the hair?

This is the sort of thing he's got to learn to laugh off, not re-adjudicate every time something else goes wrong. Even Sanchez understands that you've got to learn to say, "Hey, it was my fault, I fucked up, I'm trying to do better." Frazier doesn't seem to grasp that notion.

I'm also troubled by the fact that he finds this group of Yankees so difficult to get along with.

Reggie certainly didn't do himself any favors when he joined the team. But he was dealing with an insane alcoholic in Martin, and a hard-nosed son-of-a-bitch in Munson, along with assorted other eccentrics, press snipers, and guys generally angry that they were never going to be able to cash in the way he did with his then enormous, $275,000 a year.

I'm sure it could be that, in their spare time, the likes of Judge, Didi, The Gleyber, and CC spend their time torturing small animals and scamming elderly widows on the internet. But they sure as hell SEEM like a bunch of easy-going, fun-loving millionaires for Clint to hang with.

He can't fit in with them? Oy. Maybe a change of location would do wonders.

Anonymous said...

HC66--Oh, he's not a bland conformist? He's actually got a functioning spirit and soul? Again-I'm hardly surprised that this gives you pause. You sound like someone issuing releases for Yankee managment.

Anonymous said...

Yeah--let's blow off a potentially dynamic young batting talent for another short-term washed-up mound mediocrity even though the team is already winning two thirds of its games and Jordan Montgomery is due back in early August. Brilliant thinking--if you're Cashman or Randy Levine.

JM said...

The bullpen cannot survive a continuing string of 4 and 5 inning outings by the starters. Period. Someone has to be acquired, and, yes, the propensity of management is to get starters who don't help much. That doesn't change the situation. It still needs to be addressed. By some magic, Cashman hopefully gets someone who can perform, or even two. It's a lot to hope for, but it needs to be done.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I agree,JM.

Supposedly the Yanks are not budging on their one-year, $17.9 mill offer to Keuchel.

Here's another idea: Red Thunder for Scherzer. At least make the offer.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

I'd settle for them DFAing Morales right now.

Anonymous said...

Here's an offer: HC66 and Psycho Anus, and I'll pay someone fifty dollars to take them.

Anonymous said...

JM--present-day starters, whether you like it or not, cannot survive repeated starts of 120 pitches or more. So please restrain yourself until you do some research on this topic.

For example, this would be a good starting point:

Anonymous said...

All this speculation about trading Frazier: for the Yankees' sake, I hope it doesn't happen. For Clint's sake, I almost hope it does. There's something weirdly toxic about this organization, from the management team to the press corps to the chief TV/radio broadcasters.

Anonymous said...

Cessa? When is Cashman going to perform a reality test about this guy? And about Morales? Enough already.

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