Josh Donaldson is taking the next steps in his return to the Yankees, as tonight he’ll be playing in a rehab game with Double-A Somerset. Hopefully, JD is able to find his footing a bit with the Patriots before he begins to work his way back to the MLB roster. The Yankees have called up Oswald Peraza to take his spot in the time being, but it’s expected to be a short trip with the team, as he’ll likely be sent down when JD returns.
JD has struggled this year, and his time is running out:
Donaldson needs to get something rolling, and soon, if he wants to have any real role on this team going forward. He made some tweaks and changes in spring, but they haven’t paid off up to this point. Granted, he’s missed some time due to his injury, but before that, he wasn’t producing quality performances.
He’s still a great defender, though he has lost a step across the board. Thus far, he’s got 38.0 innings at the hot corner and has both 0 DRS and OAA at this moment. LeMahieu has seemingly passed him at every turn, including with a glove at the hot corner. DJ has 3 DRS and 2 OAA over 66.0 innings worth, showing that he may be the better option defensively.
On the offensive side of things, it’s undoubtedly in DJ’s favor. Donaldson, again with just 17 PAs, has a 29 wRC+ and a -0.1 fWAR. His OPS sits at a dreadful .489, he’s not walking as he used to — 5.9%, and he’s striking out at an unsustainably high clip — 35.3%. His saving grace last season was his defense, and with that now being second-best, he needs to start producing more than he’s needed to at any point in his career.
Peraza and others deserve a chance with the Yankees:
Donaldson is 37 now, and it may be time to accept the fact that he’s not going to bounce back and become the player he once was. However, the Yankees need him to at least put out some type of quality when he takes the field. They can’t afford for him to continue to not produce whilst taking reps away from other players.
It wouldn’t hurt to give Raza some reps at 3B when he gets sent back down to AAA, and I think it would do more good for him than bad. If he can learn how to play third base even adequately, that could be a great way for him to earn some more playtime. The Yankees have a few guys that are just wasting away on the current roster, and the likes of JD, IKF, and Hicks have all been atrociously bad to start this season.
There are going to have to be some tough decisions to make, and it all starts with seeing how JD looks in his return from injury. Hopefully, he’s able to put together some consistent performances with Somerset before being activated and placed back on the roster. If he’s able to get his legs under him with the Patriots, all we can hope is that it’ll translate with the Yanks.