Being a Yankees fan is fun. The main problem with this team seems to be that there is not enough room for the plethora of talent yielded by trades and the farm. The newest player up for debate is Clint Frazier.
Unfortunately, Frazier slammed into a wall during spring training, and despite Russell Wilson’s pro advice to drink water, his concussion has prevented him from dawning pinstripes on the major league level this season.
In limited time last season, Frazier increased his potential trade value for the Yanks when he came up and displayed his lightning quick swing, luscious red hair and ability to knock the ball out of the park.
There are two types of Yankee fan theories right now: Hold on to the young, exciting outfielder, or cash in on his value in exchange for some starting pitching depth.
Personally, I am in the camp of holding onto Frazier. We know what we have in Hicks and Gardner and it is simply not enough to give away a potential perennial all-star in Frazier. We saw what Cashman was able to do at the deadline last year, when the Yanks received Tommy “Tight Pants” Kahnle, David “Houdini” Robertson, and the Todd Father in exchange for a few paper clips and a bag of peanuts, so I won’t be surprised if he can swindle something of similar value this year.
But I get it, the need for starting pitching is real. If the latest series against Houston has showed us anything, it’s that we are going to need more talent at the top of our rotation to compete with the guns Houston puts out on the mound on a nightly basis. The Yankees have outfielders to spare, so it logistically makes sense to cash in on an outfielder with perceived value across the league.
But does it?
The two men in front of Frazier on the depth chart right now are Aaron Hicks and Brett Gardner. Aside from a few clutch performances by Gardner, the two outfielders have combined for a .261 average, nine homeruns, and 41 RBI in a combined 333 at bats. Gardner is still a solid player at the top of the lineup, but does not have a long time horizon consistent with the youth of this team. As for Hicks, history shows that he is good for roughly three weeks of decent hitting per season.
Meanwhile, out in Scranton…. In just 22 games with the Yankees’ AAA-affiliate Scranton Railriders entering play on Monday, Clint Frazier has hit for an average of .341 with five home runs and eight RBI. Frazier has been called up to be the 26th man for Monday’s doubleheader, so maybe he will be able to nudge his way back onto the roster permanently
While the theory of cashing in on an asset that you already have a high quantity of for something you are lacking makes sense, trading away a potential high-caliber outfielder, when a starting pitcher can be signed in the offseason, could set the future potential of this team back.