Yankees cut $50 million trade bust from roster

josh donaldson, yankees
Oct 23, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson (28) reacts after striking out in the third inning against the Houston Astros during game four of the ALCS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

As the curtain slowly falls on the 2023 season, slated to conclude on October 1, the New York Yankees are pulling out all the stops to gather crucial data for the future. With their postseason hopes virtually dashed, the Yankees have recently promoted prospects Everson Pereira and Oswald Peraza. They may even continue this trend by calling up other budding talents like Austin Wells and top fielding prospect Jasson Dominguez.

Making Room for Youth: The End of the Road for Josh Donaldson

The Yankees are clearly pivoting to a youth-centric approach for the remainder of the season. This strategic shift left no room for aging and high-cost veteran Josh Donaldson. While manager Aaron Boone had hinted that Donaldson was nearing a rehab assignment, the team ultimately chose to release him on Tuesday afternoon. This move halts the allocation of resources to Donaldson’s rehab, freeing up opportunities for younger players to showcase their talents.

The Downfall of Donaldson: A Trade Bust for the Yankees

Donaldson’s acquisition stands as one of the most ill-advised moves orchestrated by general manager Brian Cashman in recent off-seasons. In 2022, the former Minnesota Twin registered lackluster stats, including a .222 batting average, a .308 OBP, 15 home runs, 62 RBIs, and a 98 wRC+. His 2023 performance was even more dismal; he participated in only 34 games before a calf strain sidelined him, finishing with a .142 batting average, a .225 OBP, 10 home runs, 15 RBIs, a 26.7% strikeout rate, and a 75 wRC+.

The Financial Toll of a Bad Decision

Cashman will have to confront the repercussions of this ill-fated acquisition, which includes the Yankees being on the hook for $50 million. This sum also accounts for a $6 million mutual buyout option for the 2024 season. In layman’s terms, the Yankees will be paying Donaldson to keep his distance from the team next year—money that, by most metrics, will be well-spent.

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Oswald Peraza: The Future at Third Base?

While the Donaldson chapter closes, another may be opening for Oswald Peraza. The young prospect is expected to continue getting opportunities at third base as the Yankees progressively transition toward a younger lineup.