Yankees manager Aaron Boone holds on to collapsing Josh Donaldson: ‘He’s going to play a lot’

Photo of author

By Webdesk

For the third consecutive game, struggling New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson is not in the starting lineup. The 37-year-old has a .125/.197/.406 batting line in 21 games off a hamstring injury this season, and every at-bat he takes at Yankee Stadium is met with boos. Despite this, the Yankees are not yet ready to cut ties with Donaldson.

“He’s going to play a lot. I know there’s a lot in it. I just want to get him going because I know he can be a key player for us,” manager Aaron Boone told reporters on Sunday (per MLB. com) after being about 40 minutes late for his pregame media session. “… (We were) in a long conversation. Just him and I talking. I’m sorry it spilled over. We’re good. We’re on the same wavelength.”

Earlier this week, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the team wants to give Donaldson a longer runway to get on track after missing nearly two months with his hamstring injury. Since then, Donaldson has had four at bats in the team’s last three games. Here’s what Cashman said about Donaldson (via NJ.com):

“Obviously he had a below average offensive season last year, but before that he was always an above average offensive player,” Cashman said Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. “This year he came out of the gate looking good and then he got hurt. And then he got his injury worse. So he’s been down for a long time. I’d like to give him a runway where he can get consistent. – bats and can then come on a roll and be in a better position to judge.”

There are reasons to believe that Donaldson is better than he has shown this season. His average exit speed (91.3 mph) and running speed (22.2%) are exceptional, so he still hits the ball very hard, but he possesses a microscopic batting average of .051 on balls in play. Donaldson’s expected batting average based on the quality of his contact is .223. His expected slugging percentage is .560.

Donaldson joined the Yankees last spring in the Isiah Kiner-Falefa trade with the Minnesota Twins and had a poor first season in New York, batting .222/.308/.374 and going 5 for 29 (.172 ) with 16 strikeouts in the postseason. He still plays an excellent defense, so Donaldson has value in the field. That said, a .125/.197/.406 line is a .125/.197/.406 line. He’s been very bad.

The Yankees owe Donaldson the remainder of his $21 million salary this season, plus a $6 million buyout of his 2024 club option. They ate about $27 million to release Aaron Hicks earlier this yearso owner Hal Steinbrenner is willing to eat money to move on from unproductive veterans, though the Yankees aren’t ready to take that step with Donaldson just yet.

The Yankees third basemen (mainly Donaldson and DJ LeMahieu) hit a weak .189/.260/.351 with 0.0 WAR this year. Shortstop prospect Oswald Peraza, who lost the shortstop job to Anthony Volpe in spring training, hits .292/.360/.563 in Triple-A. He started five games third as Donaldson was on the injured list, although he is currently sidelined with a stomach problem.

The Yankees come into play on Sunday with a 42-35 record and a half-game lead over a wild card spot. Reigning AL MVP Aaron Judge has a torn ligament in his toe and there is no timetable for his return. The Yankees are tied 7-10, scoring just 3.0 runs scored per game since Judge last played.

Source link

Share via
Copy link