The New York Yankees boast an impressive infield rotation that includes DJ LeMahieu, Anthony Volpe, Gleyber Torres, and Anthony Rizzo.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa stands ready to substitute at both SS/3B and Oswaldo Cabrera displays tremendous utility value. Hence, there is no pressing need for another player to demand substantial playing time.
Yet, manager Aaron Boone hinted that veteran INF Josh Donaldson would assume an “everyday role” with the squad upon his return.
Drawing a salary of $25 million this season and totaling $50 million, inclusive of 2022, the Yankees are spending quite a sum for a player on the decline and nearing the end of his contract.
The Yankees need better from Josh Donaldson if he’s going to play ‘everyday’:
Donaldson, now 37, recently completed his most challenging professional season, recording a .222 batting average with a .308 OBP, along with 15 home runs and 62 RBIs.
In a brief five-game stretch, he achieved a .125 batting average with a .176 OBP, although these figures should not be the primary indicators.
Indeed, Donaldson currently lags behind DJ LeMahieu in his overall performance. This disparity suggests that the Yankees might need to shift DJ from third to second base or employ him at first base to provide Rizzo some respite.
However, benching Rizzo is not an option for the Yankees, given his current .307 batting average with a .383 OBP this season, along with 11 home runs, 30 RBIs, and a 154 wRC+.
Though LeMahieu could transition to second base, considering Gleyber Torres’ recent outstanding offensive performance, including a two-home-run display on Wednesday, it would be unwise to disrupt the current infield lineup at this stage of the season.
At most, Donaldson should play a supportive role, stepping in at third base to allow other infielders a break and acting as a designated hitter until Giancarlo Stanton recovers from his hamstring injury.
While Donaldson’s presence could help alleviate fatigue for other players, relying on him as an everyday starter seems unfeasible, especially given the current exceptional performance of the infield.