Yankees bench struggling $25 million infielder

josh donaldson, yankees
Jun 11, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson (28) reacts after hitting a deep fly ball for an out against the Boston Red Sox during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Contrary to General Manager Brian Cashman’s recent assertion that Yankees‘ infielder Josh Donaldson deserved additional “runway” to regain his form, the coaching staff has chosen a different course of action.

They believe the team would be better served with Donaldson benched.

Donaldson Scrapped from Yankees’ Starting Lineup

Donaldson was left out of the lineup for the third consecutive game on a recent Sunday afternoon. This move strongly suggests that the $25 million infielder has been removed from the starting lineup and will be replaced by Isiah Kiner-Falefa and DJ LeMahieu.

Donaldson, 37, currently has a batting average of .125 with a .197 OBP, inclusive of six homers and eight RBIs in 21 games this season. His performance, as shown by a 59 wRC+ and a -0.1 WAR, reinforces the notion that Cashman derived negative net value from the high-profile trade with the Minnesota Twins.

Evaluating Josh Donaldson’s Performance

While Donaldson’s defensive contributions have been satisfactory over the past year, his offensive impact has left much to be desired. Last season, he recorded a .222 batting average with a .308 OBP, including 15 homers and 62 RBIs over 132 games.

Sadly, with age catching up and a recent recovery from a hamstring injury, his peak performance days appear to be behind him. It seems more beneficial for the team to utilize him as a reserve player rather than a daily starter.

Spotlight on Kiner-Falefa and LeMahieu

In the interim, fans can anticipate Kiner-Falefa receiving more playing time at third base. His current performance includes a .239 batting average with a .275 OBP this season. Additionally, DJ LeMahieu will receive more opportunities.

LeMahieu, aged 34, is hitting at .228 with a .286 OBP, boasting seven homers with 23 RBIs and an 84 wRC+. This season reflects one of the worst of LeMahieu’s professional career, suggesting he may be over-analyzing at the plate rather than relying on his instincts.

Upcoming Match and Lineup Changes

The Yankees are slated to face the Texas Rangers in a three-game series finale on Sunday afternoon with Gerrit Cole on the mound. LeMahieu will start at third base following a day off on Saturday. However, he has been moved to the No. 6 spot in the batting order. This significant shift undoubtedly signifies Manager Aaron Boone’s dwindling confidence in his prime utility player.

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