The New York Yankees find themselves grappling with the issue of underperforming veterans and bloated contracts. Devoid of the steadying influence of Aaron Judge, the team is not only encountering struggles in scoring when runners are in position but also grappling with diminishing returns on their substantial investments.
A slew of notable players including Josh Donaldson, Giancarlo Stanton, and DJ LeMahieu, among others, have failed to meet expectations.
This, in conjunction with the injuries plaguing Luis Severino and the non-performance of Carlos Rodon, who has yet to make his debut in the Yankees’ pinstripes following a six-year, $162 million deal, have left the Yankees battling on multiple fronts.
The most prominent issue, however, is the underperformance of players who cost the Yankees a whopping $68 million.
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The Giancarlo Stanton Conundrum
At the age of 33, Giancarlo Stanton costs the Yankees a hefty $32 million, which constitutes 11.45% of the total payroll. The team has been left wanting more from this veteran outfielder, who currently sports a batting average of .195, an OBP of .259, and has scored seven homers and 19 RBIs across 35 games. His wRC+ stands at 78, while for the first time in his career, he records a negative WAR. His performance has been further hindered by being relegated to the role of a designated hitter, disrupting his rhythm.
Stanton hit a low in June, recording a .145 batting average and a .234 OBP. The Yankees are eagerly waiting for their star player to break his cold streak and boost the team’s offensive performance.
Josh Donaldson’s Underperformance
Josh Donaldson, in the final year of his contract, is costing the Yankees $21 million while delivering subpar performances. At 37, Donaldson is hitting at .136 with an OBP of .191, despite hitting eight homers and 13 RBIs over 26 games. His slugging metrics remain commendable, but a 64 wRC+ and a 0.0 WAR highlight his less-than-satisfactory performance. Donaldson’s performance in June was no better, hitting .148 with a .206 OBP.
Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone has been lenient, but it might be time to consider Oswald Peraza as a better fit and offensive spark at the hot corner, given Donaldson’s prolonged underperformance.
DJ LeMahieu’s Struggles
DJ LeMahieu’s unexpected dip in form has been a significant hindrance to the Yankees’ batting lineup. The 34-year-old hit .261 with a .357 OBP last year, despite a slump in September due to a toe injury. This year, he has a batting average of .225, an OBP of .289, seven homers, 27 RBIs, and an 81 wRC+.
LeMahieu’s performance in June only deepened the team’s woes, with a .172 batting average and a .226 OBP. With his performance plummeting even against lower-ranking teams, the Yankees will need him to step up against teams with elite pitchers. Currently, on a six-year contract with an annual payout of $15 million, LeMahieu’s performance leaves a lot to be desired.
The Yankees’ $68 million investment is currently not bearing the expected fruit. It is essential for these players to step up and perform if the team is to compete successfully against quality teams and make the most of their substantial investment.