In an earlier press conference, New York Yankees skipper Aaron Boone stated that Clint Frazier would likely be the starting left fielder for the team this season. It’s been an opportunity a long time in the works and a very deserving one for the 26-year-old slugger.
However, Frazier could have a relatively short leash. A failure to perform could lead to him going to the bench, as the Yankees have plenty of other outfielders such as Mike Tauchman, Brett Gardner, and Jay Bruce to replace him.
With both his bat and his defense, Tauchman should put up a good fight against Frazier for playing time. He bat .277 with 13 home runs in 2019 but struggled a bit in 2020. However, his power has already seen improvement this season, going yard off Gerrit Cole in a simulated game this week.
Tauchman’s also a lefty, something the Yankees don’t have very many of. If Frazier struggles, Boone could plug Tauchman in to give the team a valuable boost.
It took the entire off-season, but the Yankees finally got a deal with Brett Gardner done last week. He’s on a one-year contract with a player option but isn’t expected to be a regular starter this season. His offense has noticeably declined, batting just .223 last season, but remains a valuable defensive option.
If the Yankees need proven defense, expect Gardner to get some reps if Frazier isn’t performing.
Bruce is definitely on the outside looking in with the Yankees, but a strong spring training could give him a shot to make the roster. His power is extremely valuable, slugging over 300 home runs in his career, and is a major run production machine. He’s just 33, so he could have a few more years left in the tank.
The clear downside with Bruce is his defense, but with his power, he could be an option if Frazier struggles.