Why the New York Yankees should bench 3B Josh Donaldson

Alexander Wilson
josh donaldson, yankees
Jun 16, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson (28) warms up before the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees finally made a progressive move on Wednesday morning, calling up Estevan Florial, Oswaldo Cabrera, and Ron Marinaccio to help provide a spark after going three games, scoring just one total run.

However, more changes are likely needed to snap the Yankees out of their coldest streak of the season. Having lost 11 of their last 13 games, big strategy changes are required, which is why the team could consider benching third baseman, Josh Donaldson.

The Bombers acquired Donaldson from the Minnesota Twins in a three-player acquisition that included Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Ben Rortvedt.

Donaldson was still owed two years, $50 million, and for a player earning that amount in salary, his numbers this season of been rather disappointing. He’s currently hitting .223 with a 30.5% on base rate and a .384 slugging percentage. He’s been playing Gold Glove caliber third base, but has tallied just 11 homers and 43 RBIs this season with a 28% strikeout rate, the highest in his career.

Donaldson has been a bit better in August but not inspiring:

In the month of August, Donaldson is playing a bit better, hitting .255 with a 35.6% on-base rate, including two homers and eight RBIs, but he’s struggled considerably over the past three games, recording just one hit over 11 at bats.

In July, he hit a measly .195 with a 23% on base rate, showcasing next to nothing on the offensive side. He’s been more of a liability in the batter’s box than an asset, which presents manager Aaron Boone with a big decision.

DJ LeMahieu is expected to make a return from toe inflammation on Wednesday, so he could feature at third base with Isiah Kiner-Falefa at shortstop and potentially give Gleyber Torres a day off, injecting Oswaldo Cabrera into his most natural spot. Cabrera has arm strength concerns, which is why the Yankees may be more willing slot him in at second base or as the designated hitter.

One way or another, Donaldson needs to spend some time on the bench, giving others an opportunity to produce an offense spark.

Donaldson’s advanced stats show a player regressing:

Looking at Josh’s advanced stats, he’s hitting .185 against breaking balls and .241 against fastballs. He features a 30.4% whiff rate on fastballs with a 21.6% put-away rate. He has produced a 44.2% hard-hit rate and 11.3% barrel rate the season, which aren’t bad numbers by any means.

However, those two metrics are down significantly from his career averages. Last season with Minnesota, he posted a 52.7% hard-hit rate and 17.4% barrel rate with 26 homers over 135 games. He’s going to fall short of those numbers by a significant margin.

Based on the obvious degradation of his production this year, it wouldn’t hurt to move LeMahieu over to the hot corner where he can provide solid defense, injecting a young bat into the lineup with something to prove.