New York Yankees: Will Clint Frazier replace Brett Gardner after the season?

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier
May 27, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Clint Frazier (77) at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s start by saying something that should be obvious to any New York Yankees fans: Clint Frazier and Brett Gardner aren’t similar in many ways. Maybe Gardy and Mike Tauchman are more alike if we talk player types, but for the purposes of this exercise, let’s say that there will be one roster spot for two ballplayers: Frazier and Gardner. If you are the Yankees, what would you do?

So, it is fair to ask: Will Clint Frazier replace Brett Gardner after the season? Remember that Gardy, who will turn 37 during this season, signed a one-year deal with the Yankees with a club option for 2021. Essentially, the team holds the right to bring him back or let him test free agency.

The Yankees have options

Gardner excells at fielding and baserunning; and those are Frazier’s weaknesses. Frazier has shown a thunderous bat at times and offense is his best attribute, while Gardner, who is coming off a career year with the bat (.251/.325/.503, 28 home runs, 74 RBI, 86 runs, 10 stolen bases, .829 OPS) will likely regress this year and next given his age and the relatively unsustainable 2019 production (while his .344 wOBA is very nice, his .299 expected wOBA leaves a lot to be desired.)

So, considering that the Yankees have “Gardner-lite” in Mike Tauchman, a player that can run and defend just as well as him and carries at least as much offensive upside at their respective points in their careers, they may choose to keep Frazier and let Gardy walk.

Of course, should they find themselves hunting for a big piece to aid the major league lineup or pitching staff this year or next, they may opt to flip Frazier and keep Gardner in the fold as insurance.

Frazier will turn 26 during the season and looks marvelous at the plate right now. Will his defense improve from the lousy 2019 rating of -8.8, per Fangraphs? We, and the New York Yankees, will find out soon enough.