Yankees cut defensive stud outfielder in contract year

mlb: washington nationals at new york yankees, harrison bader, mets
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

In a bold move on Tuesday afternoon, the New York Yankees decided to release Josh Donaldson, effectively absorbing the hit of $50 million over the past two seasons, plus an additional $6 million that will count against their luxury tax for next year.

Donaldson turned out to be a major disappointment, playing a mere 34 games this year before a calf injury put him on the shelf. Now that he’s healed, the Yankees have done him a favor, letting him pursue opportunities with another playoff-aspiring team.

Harrison Bader Waived: A Fan-Favorite Hits the Market

But the Yankees didn’t stop at Donaldson; they also waived defensive standout outfielder Harrison Bader. Much to the fans’ chagrin, Bader is now in a contract year and was hoping to leverage his performance in the 2023 season into a long-term agreement.

Bader’s Offensive Struggles: A Look at the Numbers

Bader may still find a postseason-bound team to join, but it’s worth noting he comes with some limitations. The 29-year-old is currently batting .242 with a .279 OBP, alongside stats like seven home runs, 37 RBIs, 16 stolen bases, an 18.2% strikeout rate, a 4.3% walk rate, and a 78 wRC+. Simply put, Bader’s offensive output has been subpar this year; his slugging doesn’t compensate for his low on-base percentage.

Defensive Brilliance: Bader’s Strong Suit

On the flip side, Bader’s defensive talents are undeniably stellar. In the 655.1 innings he’s played this year, he’s accrued five defensive runs saved and eight outs above average, along with a .976 fielding percentage.

What’s Next: The Rise of Yankees’ Prospects

As Bader moves on, the Yankees are shifting their focus to their rising stars. With Everson Pereira already starting in left field, there’s a strong chance the Yankees might call up their top outfield prospect, Jasson Dominguez. Dominguez has been absolutely electric since he arrived in Triple-A.

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Jasson Dominguez: The Future of the Yankees?

While Dominguez has participated in only seven games at Triple-A, he’s been nothing short of remarkable, hitting an eye-popping .478 with a .556 OBP. His other stats include 10 RBIs, a low 7.4% strikeout rate, a 14.8% walk rate, and a wRC+ of 206. As rosters expand in September, the Yankees have the option to bring up several young talents to assess their capabilities and start gathering essential data for the 2024 spring training.

The Yankees are clearly making moves that hint at a new direction for the team. Whether these changes will pay off in the long term remains to be seen, but they’re undoubtedly causing ripples in the MLB landscape.