Ideally, the New York Yankees‘ relationship with their new third baseman Josh Donaldson has progressed past the point it had reached last summer, when the ex-Twin was fresh off covering Gerrit Cole with a coat of suspicion.
You remember that, right? Donaldson singled out Cole as the sole user of Spider Tack despite it being a nearly-league-wide issue, and Cole responded by whiffing him the next 38 times they faced off (conservative estimation).
But, hey, would you look at that … now they’re teammates, after Brian Cashman pulled off a “heist” that brought Donaldson to the Bronx and (indirectly) Carlos Correa to Minnesota.
Have the two shrugged it off? Can we reference a video of Donaldson bugging Cole in the dugout as anything more than offseason goofing? The two seem to have buried the hatchet, but according to Kyle Higashioka, there was a very real hatchet that needed burying.
According to Higgy, Cole’s hatred of Donaldson last June led to a line in the sand that prevented fraternization of any kind. Does … anyone even remember the Astros beef spiraling to this level?
I mean, maybe a fan threw a beer or two (or three) at a proud Houstonian, and maybe a few trash can lids were stashed in the bushes outside the stadium, but … on the field, in a far-higher-stakes situation, it may never have gotten this cold.
Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka couldn’t talk to Josh Donaldson in 2021
Don’t look him in the eyes, Higgy! You’ll turn to stone!
All of this is based in silliness, but … Donaldson did make an unnecessary example of Cole. You’d be upset, too, if you suddenly had to face the wrath of national questioning when every pitcher from Justin Verlander to Framber Valdez to Garrett Richards of the Red Sox (whose post-stickiness drop was beyond embarrassing) was accused of the exact same thing.
For this reason, acquiring Donaldson felt like as much of a potential chemistry breaker as, say, adding Correa. And now we know those concerns were perfectly valid! They even had the affable Higashioka following orders on a freezeout!
That’s 2021, though. Now, these two hard-headed determined winners are on the same side, putting championship goals above all.
We think. We … still haven’t seen Cole respond to any of Donaldson’s chattering yet.