If Clint Frazier is back in The Bronx next season, he wants DJ LeMahieu to be there with him — and not just because LeMahieu has been among the Yankees’ most consistent and productive hitters the last two years.
Frazier said LeMahieu has become a mentor and Frazier is looking for that to continue.
“I need DJ to come back because he and I just started developing a good relationship,’’ Frazier said on Bucky Dent’s “Deep to Left” podcast. “By that I mean pouring information into your head, having a lot more in-depth conversations.”
Frazier spent part of the shortened regular season at the Yankees’ alternate site at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but was recalled on Aug. 11 and hit well until mid-September, when he finished with a 1-for-20 slide.
He went on to homer in his first start of the playoffs, in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Rays, but saw most of the playing time in left field go to Brett Gardner, who remains unsigned.
Still, Frazier said he learned a lot from LeMahieu in 2020.
After another stellar season with the Yankees, LeMahieu is among the top free agents on the market and remains the team’s top offseason priority, although no deal appears close.
“He offered for me to be his shadow,’’ Frazier said of what LeMahieu told him this year.
Frazier spent time with LeMahieu in the video room, where LeMahieu went over what opposing pitchers might do.
And Frazier also paid attention to LeMahieu’s attention to detail when it came to preparation, noting how no matter what time of day it was, you knew where LeMahieu would be at the field.
“He’s about to get paid because of the way he went about his routine in such a good way and developed, dude, into like the best player in Major League Baseball that I’ve seen.”
Frazier isn’t the only one who saw that happen, which is why LeMahieu is due for a significant raise from the two-year, $24 million deal he signed with the Yankees prior to the 2019 season.
Along with the Yankees, the Blue Jays, Dodgers and Mets are interested in LeMahieu.
And if the Yankees decide to dangle Frazier to other teams in exchange for pitching, they’ll get more traction than they would have earlier in his career, when there were questions about his defense and attitude.
But Frazier made strides both in the outfield and with his maturity that impressed teams throughout the league that figure to make him valuable to the Yankees or wherever he ends up.