Todd Frazier needed the Yankees as much as the Yankees needed him in 2017.
When the Yankees acquired Frazier from the Chicago White Sox, along with David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle, the team was going through a rough stretch and the Yankees were looking for some kind of spark. The trade prior to the July 31st trade deadline provided that spark and helped propel the Yankees into the postseason for the first time since 2015.
Now Frazier is a free agent and the Yankees are in an interesting position considering they have Chase Headley under contract for next season and a crowded infield. When the organization acquired Frazier, the move was simple as they transitioned Headley to first base with Greg Bird on the disabled list. With the postseason that Bird had, he is likely to be the everyday first baseman next year leaving third to Headley as of right now.
Despite the question marks of what to do with Frazier, it’s an absolute must that the team bring the 31-year-old veteran back to the Bronx in 2018.
Looking at what the Houston Astros did in 2017, they had the perfect mix of young players and veterans in their lineup. This is what Frazier brings to the table for the Yankees.
It’s likely that Matt Holliday will not be back in 2018. Despite missing a majority of the second half of the season, Holliday’s impact on the 2017 Yankees was huge. He served as a mentor to Aaron Judge and this is the potential impact that Frazier can have in 2018.
The Yankees will most likely continue with their youth movement in 2018 as they still have players like Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, and Justus Sheffield on the cusps of making the big league roster. Having a player like Frazier really helps with the development of young players, especially players that play the same position you do. Frazier is one of the best defensive third basemen in the league and the influence that Frazier can have on Andujar and Torres can be substantial.
Even if the Yankees want to keep the third base open for Torres or Andujar, there will be an opening at the DH spot and Frazier can do more than just field his position.
Clubhouse Presence and Chemistry
No matter who you hear talking about Todd Frazier, his clubhouse presence is something about which everyone talks.
When coming over in a midseason trade, it’s always hard for players to gel and feel a part of the team. This was not the case for Frazier as the team rallied around him at times during the season. On a plane ride back to the Bronx, the Yankees surprised Frazier wearing gear from a company that sells Todd Frazier merchandise.
One other highlight of the Frazier and the Yankees was the Thumbs Down movement in September. The Yankees were playing the Tampa Bay Rays at Citi Field and Frazier hit a huge home run for the Yankees. As Frazier was rounding the bases, the Yankees broadcast picked up a Mets fan in the stands with his thumbs down and it became a rallying cry for the Bronx Bombers.
The addition of Frazier brought this Yankee team closer together, he played a role similar to Nick Swisher, and it’s an important role that is hard to fill. The Yankees haven’t had a player like that since Swisher left.
The role that Frazier can have on the 2018 Yankees can be monumental.
If Headley is still on the Yankees in 2018, Frazier can play the role of DH or the Yankees can move Headley to the DH slot and go with Frazier at third. New York would love it for Frazier to play at third over Headley because Headley makes you hold your breath when fielding his position. Frazier is the more consistent defender.
With the Yankees having a hole at their DH spot, they could bring Frazier back to fill that vacancy. By doing that, the Yankees will get a guy that can put up 25 home runs and always competes at a high level.
Frazier loved his time in New York, and the Yankees loved having him. A reunion between the two is essential for the Yankees to continue their success in 2018.
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