Josh Donaldson, the veteran infielder of the New York Yankees, is facing an uncertain future as his 2023 season appears to be cut short due to a calf muscle tear. While no one wishes for injuries, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Donaldson’s tenure with the Yankees has been a trade bust, masterminded by general manager Brian Cashman.
Over the past two years, Donaldson’s performance has been on a downward trajectory. While he had a decent 2021 season with the Minnesota Twins, hitting .247 with a .352 on-base percentage, his time with the Yankees has been underwhelming. His batting average dropped to .142 with a .225 OBP, and at 36 years old, it seems age-related challenges have caught up with him.
The Yankees acquired Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa in exchange for Gio Urshela and Gary Sanchez, a move that initially seemed favorable. However, Kiner-Falefa has been inconsistent, and the Yankees might have preferred to retain Urshela, a robust defender and above-average hitter.
With Donaldson now on the 60-day injured list, it’s uncertain whether he will return to the field this season, and it may even mark the end of his career. His departure leaves a talent vacuum at third base for the Yankees. They may consider testing Oswald Peraza, a 23-year-old player with limited experience but potential for growth, unless they explore the trade market for offensive reinforcements.
The Yankees have been grappling with aging contracts and underperforming veterans, and Donaldson’s injury could be a turning point for the team. Rather than persisting with high-priced veterans out of pride, they may need to focus on younger, controllable players who can contribute in the long term. As they struggle to maintain their playoff contention, the Yankees might be wise to plan for the future and build a team that can compete in 2024 and beyond.
For Donaldson, who has earned substantial wealth throughout his career, retirement may be on the horizon. His legacy with the Yankees will be a mixed one, but his injury could prompt the team to make strategic decisions and prioritize the development of young talent. The story of the Yankees is evolving, and as they navigate this challenging season, the decisions they make now will shape their future success.