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Inbox: Frazier up, but what's his future?

@BryanHoch
August 11, 2020

What are the Yankees going to do about Clint Frazier? Trade him for pitching or let him play? -- Katharine R., via Twitter When the Yankees optioned Clint Frazier to their alternate site roster during the first series of the season in Washington, D.C., Boone said that Frazier would be

What are the Yankees going to do about Clint Frazier? Trade him for pitching or let him play?
-- Katharine R., via Twitter

When the Yankees optioned Clint Frazier to their alternate site roster during the first series of the season in Washington, D.C., Boone said that Frazier would be “one play away” from returning to New York. That turned out to be Giancarlo Stanton’s dash to second base in the fourth inning of Saturday’s second game against the Rays; Stanton had an MRI on Monday to determine the severity of his left hamstring strain and reportedly it was determined to be a Grade 1 strain, which will sideline him for 3-4 weeks, so Frazier was recalled from the alternate site on Tuesday.

With Boone saying that they will be “creative” with the designated hitter spot in Stanton’s absence, one scenario would be to utilize Mike Ford as the DH against right-handed pitching and give Frazier opportunities to DH against lefties.

Frazier may have more difficulty cracking the outfield alignment, where the Yanks prefer Mike Tauchman’s defensive ability. But the 28-man roster offers the flexibility to carry Frazier while Stanton is out. For what it’s worth, Luis Cessa recently faced Frazier at the alternate site in Moosic, Pa., and said that Frazier was among the toughest at-bats there.

“He looks good. He looks stronger,” Cessa said. “I think he's ready. Everybody is just waiting for the opportunity to come back, but I think Clint looks good.”

When is Aroldis Chapman coming back?
-- Andrew A., via Instagram

Aroldis Chapman is continuing to rehab at the alternate site. Boone said that Chapman is scheduled to face hitters on Tuesday, which will mark his first time doing so since he was placed on the COVID-19 injured list. Boone has said that they do not want to rush Chapman, so it seems to be a safe guess that he’ll have at least one more session against hitters before being activated.

Do you think the Yankees will re-sign DJ LeMahieu?
-- Steph K., New York, N.Y.

If I were in general manager Brian Cashman’s chair, DJ LeMahieu would be my first choice to retain among the potential free agents, followed by Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton. LeMahieu said this spring that he loves it in New York and would like to stay, but there had not yet been any discussions about an extension.

Then came the pandemic, and we still don’t know what the financial ripple effect of this shortened season will be. Suffice it to say that whatever budget the 30 Major League teams had projected for 2020, their figures will be far less without fans in attendance. Having the television broadcast money kick in throughout a complete postseason would help.

LeMahieu will be seeking a raise over the two-year, $24 million deal he signed prior to the 2019 season. Expect the Yankees to make a solid offer to retain him, though it probably won’t happen until after the playoffs.

Do the Yankees feel comfortable going forward with this rotation?
-- Rami L., via Instagram

Paxton’s outing on Sunday at Tropicana Field surely boosted their confidence, even though he gave up two homers in the seventh inning to spoil an otherwise terrific 11-strikeout performance. Cashman always says that he is open to anything that makes the club better, and the rotation certainly qualifies as an area that could be improved.

Gerrit Cole has been fantastic and Tanaka looked better in his second start, but J.A. Happ has struggled through two starts and Jordan Montgomery stumbled after a nice season debut. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand recently recapped players who could be dealt prior to the Aug. 31 Trade Deadline; one name on that list is the D-backs’ Robbie Ray, whom the Yankees expressed interest in last summer.

A couple of other choices: the Rangers’ Mike Minor and the Tigers’ Iván Nova, a former Yankee who once proclaimed after a victory at Fenway Park: “If you ask me who the best pitcher in the world is, I’d say me.”

When are we going to see Clarke Schmidt?
-- Frank T., Monroe, N.Y.

Erik Kratz provided complimentary scouting reports on Clarke Schmidt and Deivi García last week, proclaiming both to be “ready” after catching them at the alternate training site. Schmidt has been building stamina, having recently pitched four simulated innings, so he’s in the mix to help as a starter or reliever. As we’ve seen already this season, with Jonathan Loaisiga starting twice and Michael King doing so once, there will be opportunities. The snag is that Schmidt is not currently on the 40-man roster, but that is not thought to be a major impediment.

Could Domingo Germán be on the postseason roster?
-- Thomas P., Ramsey, N.J.

Theoretically, yes. Major League Baseball has confirmed that Domingo Germán would be eligible to pitch in the 2020 postseason since he was suspended during the 2019 postseason. Realistically, it’s unlikely that the Yankees would use him. You’d be asking Germán to go more than a full year without facing any high-level competition, then activating him for the most important games of the year. It’s probably best if Germán prepares for next spring.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.