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After agreeing to a one-year, $4 million extension that brings Yankees’ longtime outfielder Brett Gardner back to the Bronx, the team is again making a major mistake. You’d think one of the game’s young and emerging star hitters, Clint Frazier, would’ve earned the starting job already, but it seems they’re still hung up on Gardner.
And yes, Boone did say Frazier would start. He also said Brett Gardner would “play a lot,” and I wish he was joking.
With a wink & nod to Brett Gardner’s NYY signing (not yet official), Aaron Boone recommits to Clint Frazier:— Pete Caldera (@pcaldera) February 20, 2021
“I expect Clint to be our left fielder & to be in that starting lineup. A guy like Gardy would certainly play a lot…but Clint is going to be a regular player for us.’’
Clint Frazier was ready offensively two years ago–it’s just that his defense couldn’t manage the pressures of New York. Every time he made a mistake, Yankee Stadium got on his case to the point that the team sent him down to AAA.
That’s all perfectly normal, except now Frazier just played the 60-game short season and was one of the American League’s best defensive outfielders. He played so well that he was actually on the cusp of winning a gold glove, yet Aaron Boone still says things like this:
Aaron Boone talks about Brett Gardner’s leadership:— Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) February 20, 2021
“There is a blue-collarness to the way he goes about his business. I think that is infectious” pic.twitter.com/wNd5wwYaOx
The Yankees are playing this the right way by wanting players on the roster that bring a “business-like mentality” to the field. This concept works in athletics, and it also pays off in the common workplace.
With that said, perceived “leaders” don’t have to “play a lot” to make their impact. It seems Aaron Boone and the rest of the Yankees front office can’t seem to grasp that concept.
As you can see above, Gardner batted just .228 last season at age 36. Meanwhile, Clint Frazier is 26 years old and ready to emerge into stardom. Maybe the Yankees don’t trust center fielder Aaron Hicks to stay healthy after missing so many games these past few seasons?
That makes a ton of sense, and we sure hope that’s the case because there’s no logical explanation for the Red Thunder to sit on the pine for an aging veteran with a clear ceiling. I’ll be paying close attention to where Gardner sees his innings defensively in spring training. It’s possible that Boone tips his hand a bit in Tampa.