You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: the Yankees.
Is this Clint Frazier’s final opportunity with the Yankees? Even with the injury history to [Aaron] Hicks, [Giancarlo] Stanton and [Aaron] Judge, Frazier was passed over many times last year for guys like [Mike] Tauchman, [Cameron] Maybin, etc. Even with his decreased trade value, would it be better just to move him? — Bryant Cleary
Even if the 25-year-old Frazier never turns into a player who was the fifth pick in the 2013 draft by the Indians, the Yankees aren’t going to deal him just for the sake of deleting him. One, they are short on outfield prospects close to being ready for the major leagues. Two, Brett Gardner will be 37 in August, and Stanton will likely get more at-bats as a DH than left fielder as long as he is a Yankee.
The Yankees believe Frazier’s bat isn’t something to give up on, so I don’t believe they feel it would be better to simply dump him. His outfield defense improved in spring training and he wasn’t the lightning rod for attention as he had been in the past.
Should a season start with 30-man rosters, Frazier could be one of the four additional players. A lot depends on how healthy Hicks, Judge and Stanton are. If Judge isn’t ready Tauchman and Frazier could platoon in right.
How’s Aaron Judge’s ribcage? — JDucketts
Are the Yankees going to elect for surgery on Judge as soon as training camp resumes? Would be a classic Yankees move as in recent years. — Graham Karpowich
Let’s answer both of these. The last time we heard about Judge’s rib situation was May 22, when hitting coach Marcus Thames addressed the situation with YES.
“It’s been tough,’’ Thames said of Judge not being able to swing as he recovers from the fractured rib that sidelined him this spring and likely happened last September diving for a ball. “He really wants to get going. [We’re] just trying to stay safe. When the doctors let him, [we’ll] turn him loose. He’ll be ready. He’s chomping at the bit to get out there and start working hard on his swing.”
Though Judge, who would have opened the season on the IL, was optimistic in spring training about an early return, Yankees brass thought June or July was more realistic.
As for surgery, that is the last resort for any injury to a player.
With Austin Wells having that nice lefty swing and the Yankees’ need for an everyday first baseman, what are the possibilities that he is the Yankees’ first baseman of the future? — Carmine Coletti
Do the Yankees see Austin Wells as a starting catcher in the next five years? If so, what does that mean for Gary Sanchez? — Dom Kruszewski
Another double play. Far too soon to even guess if Wells will be a big league catcher. He was the Yankees’ No. 1 pick this year for his left-handed bat, which will determine if he reaches the big leagues or not. Remember the Yankees took catchers Anthony Siegler and Josh Breaux in the first and second rounds of the 2018 draft.
As for Sanchez’s future with the Yankees, we will know a lot more following the 2022 season, when Sanchez will be a free agent.
It’s easy to forget that Luke Voit is just 29 and has played 227 big league games. At this point it is impossible to predict if the Yankees will view Wells as a candidate to be the every-day first baseman since he is a catcher. Is it possible Wells lands at first base? Yes. But Voit’s right-handed power is proven; Wells’ left-handed pop is impressive but he hasn’t faced a professional pitcher yet.
Assuming the season starts mid-July, will [James] Paxton be ready? — nyychamps27
The last time we heard about Paxton, he was throwing regularly in Wisconsin with no problems concerning the lower back surgery he had in February. Based on that, and he being originally thought to be fully recovered by late May or early June, the left-hander could be ready for a season that opens in July.
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It’s a two-way street, because Paxton needs to pitch well entering free agency for the first time, and the Yankees need him in the No. 2 or No. 3 spot behind staff ace Gerrit Cole.
What is the status with Domingo German’s suspension? Is it viewed in the same light as [A.J.] Hinch and [Alex] Cora where games not played because of shutdown count toward the suspension, and if not will the union file a grievance on his behalf? — Michael Diamond
If the baseball season is reduced to under 60 games, does this mean German will be suspended for the entire season? — Joseph Otis
Domingo German’s original suspension was for 81 games, and he served 18 last season. If there are no games this year or a reduced number of games, the suspension doesn’t carry over into the 2021 season.
I know the Yankees don’t want to diminish the Stadium number retirement, whenever it happens. However, for his career as a player and longtime contribution as a broadcaster, would you consider retiring No. 2 for Bobby Murcer? — Matt Caruso
The Yankees have retired 21 numbers, and two of the three Bobby Murcer wore are retired, Billy Martin’s No. 1 and Derek Jeter’s No. 2. Murcer wore No. 17 in 1965-66, No. 1 in 1969-74 and No. 2 in 1979-83. He missed the 1967-68 seasons due to military service.
Considered one of the most popular Yankees players, Murcer isn’t listed in any of the top 20 offensive categories in team history. His 1,256 games as a Yankee are 232 short of Wally Pipp’s 1,488, which is 20th on the list, and Murcer’s 175 homers are nine back of Charlie Keller, who is 20th on that list.
Murcer was a very good player but falls short of becoming the 22nd Yankee to have his number retired.