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Inbox: Should Frazier's buzz prompt a change?

Beat reporter Bryan Hoch answers questions from Bombers fans
March 13, 2017

In light of what happened last week with Clint Frazier, isn't it time for the Yankees to reconsider their facial hair policy? It is outdated in today's game and could keep stars from wanting to play in New York. -- Richard B., Brooklyn, N.Y.Many similar questions were asked the morning

In light of what happened last week with Clint Frazier, isn't it time for the Yankees to reconsider their facial hair policy? It is outdated in today's game and could keep stars from wanting to play in New York.
-- Richard B., Brooklyn, N.Y.

Many similar questions were asked the morning that Frazier agreed to have his long locks buzzed in the clubhouse. The sense around the organization is that as long as the Yankees are owned by George M. Steinbrenner's family -- and it has repeatedly said that it plans to keep the team -- it will make every effort to run the club according to the demands and values that Steinbrenner instituted.
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As Reggie Jackson put it, "The way the sheriff wanted it is how we want to continue to do things," adding, "I think that learning how we do it is different and difficult, but I think that can go back to one of the greatest comments I've ever heard is when Mariano [Rivera] said, 'The pinstripes are heavy in New York.'"
The grooming policy was instituted in 1973, so it shouldn't be catching anyone by surprise at this point. Manager Joe Girardi did acknowledge that Frazier wasn't specifically in violation of it, though that's another topic altogether. From Jason Giambi to Johnny Damon to Frazier, conforming is an expected part of the landscape when the paycheck reads "The New York Yankees."
There have been a handful of players over the years who have said they would not shave their facial hair to join the Yankees, David Price being one of the most notable. While it makes for an entertaining sound bite, I'm not sure that holds up when millions of dollars are on the table. Maybe we'll find out in two years when Bryce Harper is a free agent.
I heard someone say that if the Yankees go with a four-man bench, odds are it will be Chris Carter, Austin Romine, Aaron Hicks and Ronald Torreyes. Romine is being outplayed by Kyle Higashioka. Gleyber Torres is having a great spring. What's the sense?
-- Owen S., Rehoboth Beach, Del.

That's exactly how I would project the Yankees' bench at this point, with Greg Bird and Aaron Judge winning the competitions at first base and right field. While the Yankees expect that Higashioka will be a Major League catcher in the very near future, I'd be careful about reading a whole lot into Spring Training stats -- Gary Sanchez's March 2016 performance is a great reminder of that.

I think that Higashioka has a chance, but Romine's still the favorite in my mind based on the fact that he has served as a big league backup already and he is out of Minor League options, so the Yankees would risk losing him again if he isn't on the roster. As for Torres, he has been fantastic, but I don't see any way he debuts at Yankee Stadium without having a single at-bat in Double-A.
Could we see Frazier with the Yankees this season, assuming Hicks has a season like last year?
-- Christian M., via e-mail

Should Hicks wind up back in a fourth outfielder role, he acknowledges that he will need to make adjustments -- especially offensively -- because what he did in 2016 just won't cut it again. The Yankees would love to see the Hicks trade work out, but he probably has a finite amount of time given the number of outfield prospects banging on the door. General manager Brian Cashman has said that the ideal scenario would be to give Frazier an entire year of seasoning at Triple-A, as he was quite young for that level last year, but the Yankees are open to promoting him if he forces the issue.
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What do you think it would take for the Yankees to acquire Jose Quintana? Do you think they will? If so, when?
-- Tanner S., via Twitter

In January, Cashman intimated that it would take surrendering at least Frazier or Torres in order to complete a Quintana trade, plus more. The asking price was too rich then, and I believe it will continue to be so, as the White Sox seek a return similar to what they got from the Red Sox for Chris Sale. Those prospects are too valuable to the Yanks' future, and even though he's on a team-friendly contract, adding Quintana wouldn't exactly make the 2017 Bombers a World Series favorite.
With all of the outfield prospects, wouldn't a Manny Machado signing make more sense than Harper, even with how good Miguel Andujar has looked?
-- Matt P., Dryden, N.Y.

Andujar may turn out to be a productive big leaguer, but my opinion is that if you have a chance to add a player like Machado to your roster, you do it. The free-agent market during the offseason of 2018-19 will be fascinating for the Yankees, considering the flexibility they'll have to spend. Who knows? By then, we'll have a much better idea of what Judge's career will look like, so maybe the Yankees will spend close to a billion dollars going after both Harper and Machado.

With the exception of Adam Warren and Luis Severino, which potential starter do you think would benefit the most as a bullpen arm?
-- Kyle S., Newark, Del.

Scouts say the jury is still out on Luis Cessa, and it's possible that he may project better as a reliever long-term. With the situation the Yankees are in, though, it makes sense that you'd try all of these young pitchers as starters for as long as you can. Bryan Mitchell may have the best stuff out of the five pitchers competing for those last two slots, and Chad Green's 11-strikeout game on Aug. 15 against a stacked Blue Jays still rattles around in the Yanks' minds. I'll guess that of that group, Cessa will make the most big league relief appearances in 2017.

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