Movin’ On By Movin’ Out, Yanks Release Donaldson


The Yankees began preparations for the 2024 season by starting to “trim the fat” on the roster.

The Yankees cut bait with Josh Donaldson, who had become the latest victim of the fans’ wrath. Donaldson has been out since mid-July and there was some talk of him returning in September, but that would not have been a good optic for a team that’s looking to the future.

With Donaldson off the roster, the Yankees will likely add Jasson Dominguez to the 40-man and reportedly bring him up on September 1st. The Yankees placed Harrison Bader on waivers which is an indication of where they’re at with the impending free agent.

Donaldson’s ill fated Yankee tenure lasted parts of two seasons because he was always injured and was not productive when he did play. In 165 games, Donaldson slashed .207/.293/.385 with an OPS of .678. He hit 25 home runs and drove in a total off 77 runs but he struck out 180 times in 584 AB’s, an average of a strikeout every 3.24 at bats.

The acquisition of Donaldson caused a logjam in the infield as the Yankees tried to put a square peg into a round hole by rotating five infielders for four spots.

There were scheduled days off but there are players who are better when they’re playing regularly, including D.J. LeMahieu, who may have been affected the most by Donaldson’s presence. Resting players has not worked for the Yankees, who act like they have this deep bench.

The Yankee infield has been in flux ever since the 2019 season ended. The Yankees elected to move on from an aging Didi Gregorius at shortstop but it set off a chain reaction of moves that just haven’t worked out.

The move of Gleyber Torres to shortstop backfired on the Yankees after two frustrating seasons (2020, 2021) and they were left scrambling to fill an important position in the infield.

So the Yankees swung a deal with the Minnesota Twins a month before the 2022 season to acquire Donaldson to play third as part of the infield rotation, Isiah Kiner-Falefa to play shortstop and catcher Ben Rortvedt (who eventually was injured and didn’t take an at bat for the Yankees until this season) for Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela.

Kiner-Falefa did not work out at shortstop and Donaldson had an awful first year in the Bronx.

Things did not get much better this season.

Kiner-Falefa was transitioned to being a utility player while Donaldson started slow. The Yankees kept insisting the 37-year old still had something left, although the eyes and results would tell you otherwise as he posted a slash line of .142/.225/.434. It didn’t take A.I. to tell you Donaldson was an A.O. (Automatic Out) with almost every at bat.

The veteran third baseman was vociferously being booed with every at bat, but some of that was indirectly aimed at the front office. It got worse once Aaron Hicks was sent packing.

LeMahieu’s bat has come alive in the past few weeks. Is it any coincidence that he started to hit when Donaldson went down?

With Anthony Volpe playing nearly every game at shortstop, and Anthony Rizzo manning first base before he got hurt, Donaldson was essentially taking at bats away from a two time batting champion. Since Donaldson’s last game on July 16th, LeMahieu is hitting .274 (29 for 106), certainly not up to his standard but he has looked a whole lot better at the plate.

Torres’ name has been mentioned in trade talk before and he’s had a bounce back season. His value will never be higher than it is now so it may be time to strike while the iron is hot. If Torres is moved, LeMahieu would likely move back to being a full time second baseman. Volpe is set at short so the Yankees will be focusing on third base, left field and maybe center field if Bader is not resigned.

The Yankees need to get younger and more athletic. There’s a lot of work to be done in what has become a pivotal off season for the Yankees.

It starts with trimming the fat. 

About the Author

Get connected with us on Social Media