Yankees return outfielder from injury and immediately cut him

willie calhoun, yankees
Jun 10, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Willie Calhoun (24) hits a solo home run in the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are preparing for some significant roster changes this Friday, most notably with the anticipated return of Aaron Judge. Early Friday morning, the Yankees announced the decision to designate depth outfielder Willie Calhoun for assignment following his recovery from a quad injury sustained weeks prior.

Calhoun’s Exit: Statistics and Performance

Calhoun, a 28-year-old left-handed batter, leaves the team with a .239 batting average, a .309 on-base percentage (OBP), five home runs, 16 RBIs, a 13.4% strikeout rate, a 9.4% walk rate, and a 96 weighted runs created plus (wRC+). While his defensive capabilities were limited due to a lack of athleticism, Calhoun contributed offensively at crucial moments.

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The Indication of Judge’s Return and its Importance

The decision to designate Calhoun for assignment may suggest the imminent return of Judge, just in time for a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees are eager for the reintroduction of Judge’s offensive prowess, which has been missed since his departure. Prior to his leave, Judge was delivering a batting average of .291, an OBP of .404, 19 home runs, 40 RBIs, and a remarkable 187 wRC+.

The Need for More Offensive Support

Yankees’ General Manager Brian Cashman is likely looking to not only reintegrate Judge into the lineup but also acquire an above-average left-handed batter to reinforce the outfield.

The Yankees’ Current Situation and Forthcoming Challenges

Currently, the team is grappling with turbulence and urgently needs to secure victories against more formidable opponents. With a challenging series of games against the Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays, and Houston Astros on the horizon, the coming week could determine the Yankees’ fate. With several days left before the trade deadline, there’s still time to enact changes. However, should the next few games result in losses, the front office might consider selling assets and recalibrating for the 2024 season.