New York Yankees News/Rumors: “Gardy” paved the way for Frazier, Torres on Torres, and more

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

The New York Yankees have their first exhibition game today at 1:05 pm; it will be broadcast on the YES Network. Yankee players are excited to get to the season starter and super happy that there will be fans in the stands at George M. Steinbrenner Field in St Petersburg, Florida. The starter for today’s opening game will be Michael King, who was 1-2 last season, as announced by Yankee manager Aaron Boone on Thursday.

For the first time since March 12 of last year, fans will be allowed in the stands socially spaced. The tickets for today’s game were sold in pods of 2 – 3 and 4 seats. Those pods were sold with six feet between pods. So today, when you watch the game, the stadium will be 28% filled. That’s 3,000 fans in a stadium that normally holds 10,000.

It will be a perfect day for baseball in St. Pete, the weather forecast is for an 80-degree temperature throughout the game. It will be played under bright sunny skies with a few passing clouds, and with a nice light warm breeze from the south.

Gardner has paved the way for Clint Frazier

 

One year ago, Clint Frazier voiced a desire to play in the outfield and take over Brett Gardner’s job.  The New York Yankee’s Brett Gardner has been the veteran presence in both left and center fields, according to who was injured at the time. He has done that for the last eleven years. At the time, Frazier’s statement raised some eyebrows during spring training. Until last year Frazier had little hope of doing that as he mostly sat on the Yankee shuttle between Scranton and the Stadium.

All that changed last year when seemingly out of nowhere Frazier’s defense in the outfield took an amazing turn that eventually earned him a Gold Glove nomination and earned him a starting role in the lineup. One would think that Frazier’s comment a year earlier would not sit well with the veteran Gardner, but the opposite was true; he wanted the young man to succeed. Frazier, for his part, is happy to accept the challenge and even improve over last season.

“I think it starts with how Brett handled a young guy coming in that plays the same position as him and was vocal about wanting to win that job,” Frazier said. “Just how he treated me, he went about it in such a positive way that I felt like it was a big brother-little brother relationship. He’s such a good teammate.”

Over the past several springs, Frazier has tailed Gardner, frequently picking the veteran’s brain during drills and swapping good-natured smack talk. Those exchanges reminded Gardner of his own path toward playing time; he similarly chased Johnny Damon around Bombers camp beginning with his first spring in 2007. Gardner, for his play in 2009, won a World Series ring with the New York Yankees. Gardner has this to say about how last season ended:

“I didn’t want my career to end the way the season ended last year against the Rays,” Gardner said. “I wasn’t able to play in front of any fans all year for the most part, and my family wanted to see me play again. I went into the offseason fully expecting to be playing this season and expected it to be back here. This is where I want to be.”

Now Frazier has the golden opportunity of his career being named the starting left-fielder, it’s his time to shine, and no one is more thankful for Brett Gardner than Frazier himself.

“He’s such a jokester; he’s a little kid,” Frazier said. “I swear, he’s more immature than I am. He’s been a light that is shining really bright for me. I’d selfishly like to have this guy around until he’s like 50, just so I could finish my career with him.”

Gleyber Torres on the upcoming season

All will agree that Gleyber Torres had a very sub-par season last year, bot at shortstop and behind the plate. In 2019 the young shortstop, although not perfect at short, he did lead the team with 38 home runs and a nice batting average. Strangely that all changed in 2020. At one point, he had more errors at short than any other shortstop, and he finished the year hitting only three home runs. Manager Boone commented that Torres got screwed up with two spring training camps and didn’t come into the season ready to play.

Any criticisms from his New York Yankee 2020 season have been tucked away far back in Torre’s mind. It’s a new season, and Torres says it’s a new beginning for him, and he intends to embrace it. The now 24-year-old is coming into the exhibition slate intent upon rewriting his narrative from last year.

“I just want to feel my body really work again and get better and better,” Torres said. “I’ll be ready for the year and prepare myself really well. I’m working hard to be ready to win coming into the spring and the regular season.”

 

 

New York Yankees News: Aaron Hicks on Tiger Woods, Clint Frazier on Clint Frazier, and more

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

The New York Yankees centerfielder, Aaron Hick’s girlfriend, is Cheyenne Woods, the niece of golf superstar Tiger Woods. Woods was in a horrible rollover car accident in California Tuesday morning. The 45-year-old golfer was nearly killed; only his seatbelt likely saved his life. The car hit a curb tumbled off a Golden State roadway. Wood suffered several severe lower leg fractures but is expected to recover.

“I think right now, we’re trying to make sure with everything that’s going on with the surgeries and stuff, that he’s just gonna be healthy again,” the Yankees center fielder said Thursday. “Making sure he can be a father again and being able to enjoy and run around and play with his kids is what’s important right now.”

Doctors at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center described Woods’ “significant orthopedic injuries” in a statement released after his emergency surgery on Tuesday. He faces a long road to recovery that includes lengthy physical therapy and more operations on his shattered leg, medical experts have said. Whether Wood ever returns to pro golf is unknown, but after suffering multiple back surgeries and returning to win the Masters, if anyone can come back, it is Tiger Woods.

Hicks, who grew up playing golf in Southern California chasing some of Tiger Woods’ youth records, finished sixth in the celebrity division of last month’s Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Cheyenne Woods caddied for Hicks during the tournament. That is the only time HIcks has actually met Woods.  Other than baseball, Hick’s second love is the game of golf.

Clint Frazier’s is showing off his electric bat

Clint Frazier’s excellent play has continued into the 2021 spring training in Tampa, Florida. Frazier was a five-tool prospect but has not been given the MLB level opportunity to put together a full season. In 2021, nothing is blocking his way.

Frazier has always had a quick hot bat behind the plate, but his sub-par defense had always held him back from being the New York Yankee star that he could be, but all that changed in 2020 when the young man made an amazing transformation into a Gold Glove-like outfielder. The young star made it into the Gold Glove nominees gaining him a permanent place in the Yankee lineup.

If Frazier can show his numbers from 2020 across a full 2021 season, don’t be surprised if he’s named an All-Star. And don’t forget, assuming the Yankees’ lineup is fully healthy to begin the year, he should be in a much better position to produce since his numbers last year largely came when the roster wasn’t at full strength. If spring training is any indication, he seems on that route.

“I try not to think that I’m going to come into the season and just hit 60 home runs because of the way the offseason went,” Frazier said. “I think for me, the thing that I’m most excited about is the possibility to get a full season of at-bats. Really just to see kind of what I’m capable of because I do in my mind have expectations that I’d like to see come to fruition and the game is hard. It’s a lot harder, I feel like, playing in New York. But I feel like the last couple of years have prepared me for what it’s like to have highs and what it’s like to have lows and really how to find that happy medium to just go about my business the right way.”

The Yankees need Stanton to be Stanton

Giancarlo Stanton is a controversial Yankee player that had never lived up to the expectations of his 2017 season when he was the baseball NL MVP with the Miami Marlins. The Yankees gave him a mammoth contract which still has seven years to expiration. But the fact is other than 2018, and he has not performed for the Yankees; he has had two injury-riddled seasons that have dramatically affected his play.

But for the 31-year-old once superstar, there is still hope. Last season due to injuries, he played in only 18 regular-season games. But he came back to play in the New York Yankees playoffs against the Cleveland Indians and the Tampa Bay Rays. He was healthy and showed off what he can do when healthy. He hit six home runs in the seven postseason games while batting .302 and driving in 13 runs. If Stanton can stay healthy and come anywhere near close to the production in 2021, he will be the Yankee superstar that fans always thought he could be.

New York Yankees: An interesting position battle is shaping up in the outfield

Mike Tauchman, New York Yankees

On Friday, the New York Yankees reportedly re-signed Brett Gardner to a one-year deal worth $4 million with a team and a player option for 2022. The signing wasn’t a huge surprise, but long-anticipated after waiting until mid-February to ink a deal.

With the Gardner signing, it jumbles up the outfield picture for 2021. Gardner will be the fourth outfielder this season, with Clint Frazier, Aaron Hicks, and Aaron Judge as the starters. Giancarlo Stanton will DH this season but can play outfield if absolutely neccessary.

This puts both Mike Tauchman and Greg Allen in a position battle for the “fifth outfielder” role. The Yankees will carry a three or four-man bench for most of the season with a back-up catcher, an infielder, and possibly two outfielders. Between Tauchman and Allen, whoever wins the position battle will likely be the second outfielder behind Gardner.

Mike Tauchman

Tauchman has been solid for the Yankees in his short tenure, playing in 130 games since the beginning of the 2019 season. He’s hit .268 with a .807 OPS and a 116 OPS+ in pinstripes. He provides lefty power, knocking 13 home runs as a Yankee. Additionally, Tauchman brings speed and a good glove to the table.

Greg Allen

The Yankees acquired Greg Allen in a trade from the San Diego Padres this off-season, and he has the potential to make an impact. Allen’s one of the quickest players in the league and a decent defender with a 0.4 dWAR. Offensively, he has just a .641 career OPS but is more of a contact hitter with a .251 career average.

Tauchman is overall the better player, but what could help Allen is that he’s a switch hitter. The Yankees need lefties, and even though Tauchman is a lefty, having switch hitters on the roster can go a long way for match-ups.

With position players reporting to Spring Training this week, it’ll be interesting to see how this outfield position battle plays out.

Yankees’ Aaron Boone details Brett Gardner’s impact after interesting extension

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

It was only a matter of time before the New York Yankees signed veteran outfielder Brett Gardner to a new contract. General manager Brian Cashman hadn’t spoken to Gardner in weeks, but it didn’t take much time for them to settle on a deal. Gardy will stick with the Yankees for one more season at least, with $4 million guaranteed for 2021 and an option for the 2022 season.

Gardner’s influence is clear, especially with Clint Frazier taking over the starting job in left field. The veteran will likely be utilized in a depth role, mitigating fatigue in the outfield and presenting a healthy alternative in case injuries arise. Skipper Aaron Boone was excited about the attention of Brett, noting his impact on the squad.

“One of the things I look at is toughness, the ability to post, the ability to play through things,” Boone said. “The premium he puts on being ready to go each and every day. There is a blue-collar-ness to the way he goes about his business. I think that is infectious. He’s got a little bit of a chip on his shoulder that he plays with. I don’t even know how old he is now, but he’s got a young man’s body; he’s in great shape. He has aged very well. And I think you’ve seen him really adapt and apply information to continue to make himself in a lot of ways a better player, but certainly still a very relevant player.”

“First, we’re going to get elite defense, whether he’s been in left field for us or in center field,” Boone said. “A guy that, even when you consider him with our lineup, he’s been a guy that’s hit for power. He’s been a guy that, as we’ve been a little bit more of a right handed dominant team, he’s been a nice break in the lineup for us. I’ve kind of hit him everywhere. He’s hit lead off, he’s hit third. He’s hit sixth, he’s hit ninth for us. And he really has thrived at different times in all of those roles and, again, with us being very right handed, he’s been a guy that has given us a little bit of balance offensively on our lineup, which we like.”

Garder is still capable of producing for the Yankees:

This past season, Gardy finished with a .223 average, five homers, and 15 RBIs. He recorded a career-high 16.5% walk ride, indicating an evergreen eye. Gardner seems to be in tiptop shape, retaining his speed and quality defense. After all, he’s only two years removed from 28 homer season, indicating he might have a bit more gas left in the tank. Retaining him is a solid move, and at his price tag, it’s more about loyalty than anything else.

New York Yankees: Aaron Boone says 2021 team is championship caliber, and more

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

Pitchers and catchers for the New York Yankees have arrived at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida, as spring training finally gets to a start. The position players will arrive shortly. Although this season will be as bizarre as last season, hopefully, it will be far from normal. In an almost empty training complex, the pitchers and catchers wander through the stadium’s halls with masks on and greeting each other with a wave instead of a traditional huge after not season each other since the end of the season.

New York Yankee manager talked to the media yesterday in his first spring training press conference. He was certainly upbeat, liking many of the moves the team made over the offseason.

“Talk is always cheap at this point, but I really liked the winter that we’ve had,” Boone said. “Some of the additions we’ve made, I think are going to be impactful. The makeup of this team is of championship caliber. That’s what we’re here to try and accomplish. Hopefully this is the year we get to the top of that mountain.”

Boone also announced that Clint Frazier would be his starting left fielder this season. Frazier has had a long journey getting to be a regular player for the Yankees; he has spent more time the last few seasons on the Scranton shuttle than playing baseball. There is no question that the kid has a live bat and can hit the ball; his often lousy defense has kept him from a permanent place in the lineup. But somewhere out of nowhere last season, he became a Gold Glove-like defender and earning an everyday job with the Yankees.

“Clint has come a long way in every aspect of his game,” Boone said. “He certainly earned his place last year when nothing was given to him. He had to earn everything. Really, the last couple of years he’s been a contributor, going back to the first year I was here [in 2018]. Last year, I think he really proved that he was ready to grab an everyday role on this team.”

Last season for the New York Yankees Frazier slashed .267/.394/.511 (149 OPS+) with eight homers and 26 RBIs in 39 games last season. His defense was so good that he became a finalist in the Glove Glove voting. The 2021 outfield will be rounded out with the Aarons, Aaron Hicks in center, and Aaron Judge in right field.

Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone reveals the starter in left field, with no surprises

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

As our own Alexander Wilson reported earlier this Wednesday, New York Yankees‘ manager Aaron Boone spoke with reporters at length about several important aspects concerning the team.

One of them was who would be the starter at left field. By now, it is clear that Aaron Judge will occupy right field whenever he is healthy, and Aaron Hicks will patrol center field if he is available to play.

But the Yankees’ skipper confirmed 2020 breakout star Clint Frazier as the starter in left field. Let’s keep in mind that the vast majority of his 280 innings in the outfield last season came in right field, spelling an injured Judge.

However, there is an opening in left field after the Yankees revealed, weeks ago, that the plan is for Giancarlo Stanton to be the regular designated hitter. That spot will go to Frazier.

When asked whether he viewed Frazier as the Yankees’ starting left fielder, Boone said: “I do, Clint has obviously come a long way in every aspect of his game and certainly earned his place last year when obviously nothing was given to him. He had to earn everything the last couple years.”

The Yankees’ breakout star

In 2020, not only Frazier broke out with the bat, slashing .267/.394/.511 with a career-high 15.6 BB% and eight home runs in 39 games, but he also was a revelation with the glove and was a Gold Glove finalist in right field.

Frazier’s biggest test in his career will be sustaining the level that he showed in 2020 with the Yankees. He appears to have cemented his place as a long-term piece in the organization, but a full season of excellence won’t hurt.

The Yankees’ pitchers and catchers reported to the spring training complex onn Wednesday after a long layoff. The team will make another run at their 28th title.

The New York Yankees likely won’t have a true starting left fielder in 2021

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

With Spring Training inching closer, the New York Yankees have just one question mark remaining. Despite having one of the most productive off-seasons across the league, the team still doesn’t know who’ll play left field in 2021. The Yankees reportedly tried to snag Michael Brantley in free-agency to fill the position, but he returned to the Houston Astros on a two-year deal. Marcell Ozuna remains on the market, but it’s unlikely the Yankees have space to sign him.

That being said, the Yankees may not have a true starting left fielder in 2021. The team has Clint Frazier and Mike Tauchman on the roster in 2021 and will likely re-sign Brett Gardner to a short-term deal. New York has three options for left field, but neither of the three may play every day.

Frazier finally began to piece things together last season, batting .267 with a .905 OPS and a 149 OPS+. His defense made massive strides, even becoming a Gold Glove Award finalist.

Tauchman wasn’t bad in 2020 either, except that his power really lacked. His OBP was just shy of .350, but his slugging was just .305. He had six extra-base hits in 95 at-bats.

Gardner is the veteran player the Yankees need in the clubhouse, but his play has fallen-off significantly over the past couple of seasons. His defense remains reliable, but he bat just .223 with a .747 OPS in 2020.

It could come down to the handedness of the pitcher the Yankees are facing each night. Frazier and Tauchman are both solid against lefties, while Gardner struggles. Frazier’s OPS against lefties is .818, while Tauchman’s is .763 with a .371 OBP.

However, against righties, Frazier’s splits are the best of the three. With a .260 average and a .802 OPS, he bests both Gardner and Tauchman, who both have an OPS below .770.

Each of the three left fielders have their strengths and weaknesses, so it’ll be interesting to see who gets the most playing time. A lot of nights, it may be whoever is the hottest or whoever has the best stats against a given pitcher.

This is all assuming that the Yankees re-sign Brett Gardner, which seems inevitable at this point. However, if the team changes course and decides to let the 13-year veteran walk, the left field situation will be a completely different story.

Yankees News: Brian Cashman answers big outfield question ahead of 2021 season

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

One of the major lingering questions revolves around New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman finding another outfielder. The Yankees have been linked to Brett Gardner this off-season, as the two sides usually find common ground. Gardner did state this past season that he wants to play one more year in front of his family. With that being said, the likelihood of him returning to New York is high, especially if he settles on a more cost-efficient deal.

However, while Gardner started a majority of games in 2020, one young player has finally started to reach his potential. Clint Frazier, who was originally drafted in the first round by the Cleveland Indians in 2013, was a Gold Glove finalist this past year but was also effective on offense. He finished with a .267 average, eight home runs, and 26 RBIs. While his strikeout rate is a bit high at 27.5%, the expectation is that he will become more comfortable and efficient with more at-bats.

The Yankees, who were recently linked to players like Yasiel Puig, seem to be committed to Frazier and his growth.

Cashman stated in regards to Clint’s future with the Yankees:

“Clint Frazier has continued to reinforce that he is a force and has gotten better and better,’’ Cashman said. “This past year was another testament to that. Going into this, without a doubt, he’s solidified himself as the guy, and he’s been a guy that’s been saving us quite a few times when injuries hit.”

Frazier made a significant jump from 2019 to 2020. While he was a defensive liability two seasons ago, his development was extravagant and finally convinced the Yankees that he can be their future starter in left field. With one of the quickest bats in the MLB, more action will only help him improve. He is set to earn just $2.1 million in 2021, an absolute steal for a player of his potential and quality.

“He had a hell of a year,’’ Cashman said of Frazier. “He’s working his tail off this winter. He’s hungry. He wants to keep getting better.”

It is always nice to see players continuing to work during the off-season, and “Red Thunder” has the potential to take a big step forward offensively, claiming an everyday role on the starting roster. Ultimately, this is his chance to cement himself in the outfield, and based on his progress over the past year, I don’t think he will let it pass him by.

 

New York Yankees News: Clint Frazier is rated as a top 10 outfielder

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

The New York Yankees have a history of having great outfielders, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Reggie Jackson, Bernie Williams, and Paul O’Neill, to name a few. Now MLB Network has named Clint Frazier one of the top 10 outfielders in baseball. He came in at number 9 in The Shredder report.

The Shredder rating uses Statcast metrics and other statistics such as WAR and WRC+. Because last season was shortened, the report dug back three seasons, making Frazier’s placement on the list even more surprising. Last year he was the most improved Yankee player and one of the most improved players in all of baseball. He was so improved that the mostly minor league player got his permanent spot in the Yankee lineup, where he will be for the 2021 season as well.

The New York Yankees may still have a decision or two to decide the Yankees won’t have to make is whether to put Clint Frazier on the trading block. He has lost that status and now appears to be a huge part of the Yankees from now on for years to come. Twenty-one games into the shorted season, Frazier was called up from Scranton, and to put it plainly, he paved his path to Yankees Stardom. He hit .267 with eight home runs and turned into a Gold Glove-like defenseman. He went from a -6 in defensive runs saved in 2019 to a +4 DRS in 2020.

A player’s Revised Zone Rating (RZR) is one way to measure how they do with easy plays as well as difficult ones. In 2019, Frazier had 45 balls hit into his “zone,” and he only made plays on 35 of them. That manifested in an RZR of .778, which scores between “below-average” and “poor.” This year, Frazier saw 29 batted balls in his “zone” and he made plays on all of them. While it would be silly to expect him to maintain this 1.000 RZR for an entire year (remember, this was only a 28-game sample size), there are indicators that this performance is here to stay.

The New York Yankees always knew that his quick swing and ability to hit both for contact and power highlighted his talent. But, for Frazier, his poor play in the field has dogged him throughout his career. His maturity was also a factor. This season a new 26-year-old, more mature Frazier, showed up at summer camp. But even that didn’t help as he was to start the season at the alternate site. Due to need, the Yankees called him up on August 12th. In his first game, he went 3 for 4 with a monster home run. Frazier continued to play like a star with much-improved field play, making diving catch after diving catch. Late in the month, manager Aaron Boone rewarded him a permanent place in the lineup.

Frazier continued his excellent play into the postseason, going 2 for 7 with a .286 batting average and a 1.000 OPS, and a homer to his name. Those two months of play has cemented him as a part of future Yankee teams and a player too talented to use in the trade market. With last season’s nomination for a Gold Glove and now listed as a top 10 outfield, it appears that his future with the Yankees is cemented. With well over 100 outfielders in MLB, today to be named in the top 10 is quite an honor.

 

 

 

Former MLB player Mark DeRosa is “high” on Yankees’ outfielder: “He can put the team on his back”

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

The New York Yankees, barring some unexpected developments, will go ahead with Aaron Judge in right field, Aaron Hicks in center, and Giancarlo Stanton as the regular designated hitter. The left field spot will be for Clint Frazier, who underwent a transformation from 2019 to 2020 in which he turned into a patient hitter and a reliable fielder after years of being a liability in both areas.

On Sunday, a rumor involving Frazier circulated around Yankees Twitter, one that had him as a centerpiece to bring Cincinnati Reds’ starter Luis Castillo. It was all false, though, as Frazier remains unlikely to be moved.

On Tuesday, former big leaguer Mark DeRosa praised his abilities and evolution as a player.

“I’m high on Clint Frazier and I like the up-and-comers — the Kyle Lewises, the Luis Robertses,” DeRosa said of the Yankees’ outfielder while speaking on the MLB Network. “This is an aircraft carrier, like (former Rockies general manager) Dan O’Dowd likes to say. This is 30 (home runs) and 100 (RBI). This is the guy who wants to be the best player on the field any given night. He worked on his defense tirelessly. I’m excited to see him get 600 plate appearances because I think offensively he can put the team on his back for weeks at a time. He’s on my list and he’s on it pretty solid.”

The Yankees will give left field to Frazier

Those are very nice compliments from a former colleague, one that managed to hit .268 with 100 home runs and 494 RBI during a long career as a utility infielder.

The New York Yankees’ young slugger was ranked No. 9 on “The Shredder’s” list of the top 10 left fielders in MLB.

In 2020, after working in his overall approach, batting stance and defense, Frazier slashed .267/.394/.511 with a .388 wOBA and a 149 wRC+. He slugged eight homers in 39 games for the Yankees.