Yankees lose struggling $21 million infielder to calf injury

MLB: Chicago Cubs at New York Yankees, josh donaldson
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Despite scoring a 6–3 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night, the New York Yankees may have suffered a loss. Third baseman Josh Donaldson, oddly batting cleanup, was left scoreless and possibly injured.

Donaldson’s Performance This Season With the Yankees

Donaldson, who was offered the cleanup spot to try and take advantage of his home-run numbers this year, went 0–4, grounding out twice. The 37-year-old infielder’s season stats aren’t particularly impressive, with a batting average of .142, an OBP of .225, 10 home runs, 15 RBIs, a 26.7% strikeout rate, a 10% walk rate, and a 75 wRC+.

Injury Woes and Possible Consequences

Regrettably, Donaldson strained his calf while running to first base, prompting the Yankees to schedule an MRI. This could potentially lead to a stint on the injured list. Prior to the All-Star break, Donaldson had been grappling with minor health issues. If he is placed on the injured list, the Yankees may consider promoting Oswald Peraza.

Opportunity for Young Players Amid Injury

Despite the misfortune of losing a player to injury, Donaldson’s contributions this season have been more harmful than beneficial. This could present an opportunity for one of the team’s younger talents to improve the offense.

Peraza, despite his recent inconsistency, boasts a .261 average and a .352 OBP. His stats for this season with Triple-A Scranton include 12 home runs, 20 RBIs, 11 stolen bases, and a .495 slugging percentage over 45 games. While Peraza eagerly awaits another promotion, it appears more probable that General Manager Brian Cashman will leverage him as a trade asset at the upcoming deadline.

The Trade Deadline Looms

With the deadline just two weeks away, the Yankees might prefer to keep Peraza’s final minor-league option intact, providing added value for a team that could benefit from a young infielder with Gold Glove potential.

The Yankees could turn to alternatives like Isiah Kiner-Falefa or assign DJ LeMahieu a more prominent role at third base in Donaldson’s potential absence. Despite his lackluster batting performance, Donaldson has been hitting home runs at an impressive rate, indicating some value as a slugger.

Despite his performance issues, Donaldson still holds a 51.3% hard-hit rate, a 19.7% barrel rate, and an average exit velocity of 92.8. Indeed, he continues to hit the ball with substantial power, but his lack of discipline in the game has proven detrimental this season.

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