Whether Oswaldo Cabrera comes around on the offensive end or not, it’s evident the youngster is an asset for the New York Yankees this year and beyond solely because of his immaculate defensive versatility. He’s already logged reps at third base, second base, shortstop and right field in his first seven big-league games.
Assuming he remains a fixture on the 2023 Yankees, he could threaten a few incumbents’ roster spots come next year. Up until the first three months of this year, New York has largely struggled defensively and it has cost them dearly.
Additionally, Cabrera’s defensive versatility could open up more lineup/roster possibilities for general manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone (assuming they’re both still here if the Yankees fall short of their goal of a World Series).
It’s no secret Cabrera’s impact has elevated the Yankees, perhaps more than a number of other players on the roster have in 2022 or will from this point forward. In the end, the less shifting Boone needs to do with the lineup, the better, and Cabrera may allow for a more static situation that puts others in better spots and allows the Yankees to upgrade properly.
If that’s the belief in the front office, then fans shouldn’t be shocked if these guys aren’t wearing a Yankees uniform in 2023.
3 Yankees players who could lose 2023 jobs after Oswaldo Cabrera’s impact
3. Josh Donaldson
Per reports, the Yankees tried to trade Josh Donaldson at the deadline a few weeks ago. Any reason why that would change when the offseason arrives? Even though he’s played some stellar defense at the hot corner, there’s no need to pay $25 million for a below-average hitter when you can give more reps to Cabrera at third and sign another pitcher.
Cabrera saw 141 games at third base throughout his minor-league career, so passing off more games to him in that role wouldn’t be egregious. DJ LeMahieu can also fill in there if necessary, in addition to Matt Carpenter (if he’s re-signed).
The prevailing sentiment remains, though: paying a premium for Donaldson isn’t worth it amid this steep decline. Betting against him regressing further also wouldn’t be prudent. For what Donaldson was brought in to do, he’s hardly delivered.
He was supposed to be the trash-talking agitator, but he shelled up after his boneheaded comments directed at Tim Anderson. He was supposed to be another fearsome power bat protected by the game’s best hitters, but he’s seeing the worst power numbers of his career.
Once Cabrera’s bat shows any promise, we can start the hourglass on Donaldson’s future in New York.