Disappointments and Decisions: The Injured Position Players [2021 Season Review]

The pre-colon part of that title reads like the title of a The Starting Line song, doesn’t it? My trashy pop-punk tastes aside, let’s dive into the unfortunate muck that was the unfortunate 2021 season for Aaron Hicks, Luke Voit, Clint Frazier, and Miguel Andújar.

Before we talk about the recent past of this season, let’s look back to the less recent past of the beginning of this season. Going into 2021, all four of these players were expected to have big roles with the Yankees. Three of them–Hicks, Frazier, and Voit–were expected to be season-long starters. And while Miggy wasn’t penciled into the starting lineup, he was expected to force playing time with his bat. Then, none of them ended up playing more than 68 games or amassed more than 241 plate appearances (both distinctions go to Luke Voit).

To add insult to injury, quite literally, they didn’t play all that well when they were healthy. Voit put up a 109 OPS+, but never quite looked right. Meanwhile, Hicks, Frazier, and Andújar put up 73, 76, and 82 marks respectively. In a year of disappointments on multiple fronts, these four seem to take the cake (though we should take this chance to wish Clint well because it’s clear there’s something post-concussion going on and we want him healthy and able to live a regular life).

Now, after this failure of a year, all four are big pinstriped question marks going into 2022.

Voit is all but gone.

Frazier and Andújar are non-tender candidates.

Hicks may not be the starting center fielder anymore.

One way or another, the 2022 Yankees are going to look a lot different than the 2021 Yankees did. That it may be without these guys–all of them fairly easy to root for–is disappointing to say the least.

But Voit and Hicks can’t stay healthy. Frazier has health issues, too, and wasn’t able to take the job by the horns in early ’21. Andújar just looks like a shell of the dude who came in second place in 2018 AL ROY voting and is position-less. There just isn’t room for at least three of these four on the roster anymore.

Ideally, Hicks is the fourth outfielder going forward, despite his contract. Hopefully, the Yankees can fetch something on the trade market for Frazier, Andújar, or Voit and not lose them for nothing on the non-tender market.

It’s a shame when things just don’t work out or a roster doesn’t fit everyone. That’s clearly the case here for these players, for one reason or another.

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6 Comments

  1. Troy

    Voit. Do not understand the dislike fans seem to have for Voit or the need to replace him, certainly not with Rizzo. But Olson would be a huge expense (prospects wise) and 1B ranks as one of the smallest needs on this Yankee team. Keep Voit. He is a very good player when healthy. Give Stanton and Gallo the opportunity to back him up.

    Hicks, if not for the contract, I think I would rather have Gardy, but we need an upgrade in CF more than any non SS position.

    Andujar. He still has an option. He can fake a few positions, including 1B to add to Voit back ups and maybe he can work on 3B defense, Gio was not really good there without the aero ball.

    Frazier. Impossible to say as a fan. There is no player on the Yankees I would like to see succeed more. But first thing is for him to get healthy. We have no idea. I am not sure the Yankees or Frazier do, but hoping both sides have better info than we have. Based on limited info, DFA him and offer him a minor league contract if he wants to try and rehab. If not, offer him a coaching or office job. If he does take the minor league gig, I might also work to get him 1B reps. A little lower contact position than the OF and more of a need for the current Yanks.

    • Wire Fan

      I think the issue with Voit is the injuries (at least for me). And some of it is recklessness. He runs the bases as if he has Gardy’s speed and has hurt himself running the bases multiple times now.

      With his bat you can live with the sub-par defense but if he can’t stay on the field it is hard to plan a future with him. Same problem with Hicks.

      The Yankees have too many injury prone players – Voit, Hicks, Stanton, Judge, Frazier, and to a lesser extent Sanchez. You can live with a couple but you stack up 4 or 5 regulars and the roster is constantly churning in season and the depth is constantly tested. And the AAA position player depth is pretty thin these days.

  2. mikenyc2007

    IMO the biggest switch in value since the elimination of steroids is availability/ health… and its the one place the Yanks continue to fail. whether it be that their guys are continually injured, or that they are rested to prevent fatigue/injury, or their skillset ( big hairy monsters that swing 100% with two strike counts in chilly weather and cant run the bases) might make injuries more likely….something has to change.
    Voit is the perfect test for Cashman.. he get kudos for “finding” him, and Voit has occasionally been an offensive force at a really fair market price. He is a point of pride on Cashmans resume. However, he is often hurt, hardly athletic (in a pro-athlete sense) and somewhat redundant in this lineup. His trade value is small despite his bat… with the one saving grace being the potential for the DH in the National League finding a place for him.
    Cashman will have a hard time cutting him, or trading him for nothing, and then watch him put up a 130OPS/ big counting numbers in Seattle or Arizona as a DH… yet that’s what he need to do in order to rebalance the roster since dreaming on Voit’s health has not worked out so far
    Lets see what happens.

  3. sevrox

    Voit is ‘all but gone’? Really? Not sure I quite believe that. On what do you base this statement?

    • Jim Beam

      I think the trade rumors at the deadline made it pretty clear. Is it a good idea to ditch him? Maybe not, but that’s not what you asked.

      Cashman made it clear that he wants less non-athletic, defensively challenged guys on the squad, and seeing that Voit was really the only serious trade-deadline rumor there was and he’s about as non-athletic and defensively challenged of all the “fringe” guys that there is, and he’s easily replaced, makes me think he’s on the move.

      He’s been vocal at times that were uncomfortable for the economic entity that is “the team,” so while many in the clubhouse MIGHT love him, he’s FAR from the face of the franchise.

      This isn’t an endorsement for ditching him, but I can easily see why they would, and wouldn’t whine about it, depending on how they filled out the roster.

      • Jim Beam

        That they got the production out of him that they did for the pieces they gave up for him is already a win. Moving him in a package for a decent 1B or SP, maybe a C or SS – 1B can be replaced or taught.

        I would have been less into it once games began, but since there’s AT LEAST until scheduled ST, and possibly longer due to CBA negotiations, A shift to 1B might work for some COF and CIF that haven’t played much 1B.

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