Finally, it’s Clint Frazier’s time.
New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone revealed at his spring-training-opening press conference on Wednesday afternoon that the 26-year-old will be the team’s starting left fielder to begin the 2021 season.
“He had to earn everything, really the last couple of years,” Boone said via Zoom. “He’s been a contributor going back to the first year I was here.”
Frazier has consistently produced over his last three seasons of playing in a limited role behind veteran Brett Gardner. In 123 games from 2018-2020, he slashed .267/.351/.485 (.836 OPS) with 162-game averages of 27 home runs and 86 RBI.
He saw an expanded role during the shortened 60-game 2020 season, appearing in 39 games while batting .267 with a .905 OPS, eight home runs, and 26 RBI.
“Last year really proved that he was ready to grab an every-day role on this team,” Boone said. “Especially with the improvements that he’s made in every aspect of his game. At this age, his experience now and his success and his confidence that he’s continued to build has put him in a position to go into this camp as an every-day player and he’s certainly earned that.”
Gardner, who has held down the left-field spot for the better part of the last 13 seasons, remains a free agent — though there have been continuous rumors that he could return to the only team he’s ever played for in the majors.
“You never know what can happen or transpire but we’ll see,” Boone said. “Obviously, he’s been a great Yankee and we’ll just see how things unfold.
“I haven’t spoken to Brett in probably the last several weeks.”