Despite smacking a game-tying two-run double in the bottom of the fourth inning on Wednesday night, Clint Frazier has endured a rough season at the plate for the Yankees.
Frankly, if last night’s contest doesn’t start to get him on track at the plate, the Bronx Bombers really have only one choice at this point, which can be summed up into three simple words:
Send him down.
While the Yankees have bounced back after a tough stretch to win six of their last 10, Frazier has gotten only 16 at-bats in the last seven days entering play on Thursday. He is also seven for his last 36 with three RBIs and no home runs.
Frazier has lost playing time in left field to Miguel Andujar, who has reemerged as a young budding star for the Yankees, following a two-year layoff after 2019 shoulder surgery.
Although Andujar is currently in a 3-for-20 slump, he is slashing .275/.306/.431 with five home runs and nine RBIs in his last 30 games. As for Frazier, he has only been in left field over Andujar three times since June 4, including Thursday's contest, making it clear who the Yankees prefer out there.
"It's been a tough call for me every day frankly,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone prior to Thursday’s game against the Kansas City Royals. “Miggy's earned opportunities too and it's probably going to continue to be a day-by-day thing."
In 133 at-bats this season, Frazier is batting .191/.314/.329 with five home runs and 14 RBIs. He just hasn’t been able to turn his abysmal campaign around at the plate, and that’s why he is dangerously close to needing to go back down to Triple-A to rediscover himself.
With Andujar producing in left field, it’s all the more reason that the Yankees can afford to send Frazier back to the minors if he can’t turn things around.
If Frazier is able to figure it out in Scranton, and comes back to the big-league club raking, it will benefit both sides in a significant way.
The Yankees already lost center fielder Aaron Hicks to season-ending wrist surgery and will likely be in the market for outfield help before the trade deadline. A rejuvenated Frazier will be almost as important as a deadline pickup given the fact that he was expected to be a force in the Yankees’ lineup this year.
There is certainly no guarantee that a trip to the minors will fix Frazier, but if he doesn’t come out of this rut soon, it will be the only option. Keeping him in the majors to figure things out while losing his starting spot in left is not the answer.
So, if Wednesday night’s big hit was a mirage, like most of his knocks in 2021, the final and only conclusion should be to give him a one-way ticket to Scranton to let him find himself with the RailRiders until he proves his bat is capable of swinging in the big leagues again.
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