The New York Yankees desperately needed a break from Josh Donaldson. Whether it was him walking out of the box on batted balls he incorrectly thought were homers, his aimless/senseless trash talk, staring at 92 MPH fastballs down the middle, or his slowly regressing defense, fans couldn’t handle him in the lineup every day anymore.
On Wednesday, Donaldson hit the paternity list on a day the Yankees were set to take on the Minnesota Twins for a doubleheader. Somehow, it took a move of this magnitude to put top prospect Oswald Peraza at shortstop, but at least it happened.
That shifted Isiah Kiner-Falefa over to third base, where he won a Gold Glove during the shortened 2020 season. Ever since IKF took over at shortstop, Yankees fans wondered if it was the right decision since he’s more of a utility player than anything.
Well, perhaps that may be the Yankees’ new approach (or at least it should be). IKF at third base and Oswald Peraza at short delivered immediate results on Wednesday. Kiner-Falefa made a number of great defensive plays and notched the game-tying RBI in Game 1 and the go-ahead, game-winning grand slam in Game 2.
As for Peraza, the young slugger went 4-for-8 with two runs scored, two doubles and a walk between the two games. He went 3-for-3 in his first three at-bats at Yankee Stadium. In his first 29 innings at short, he’s logged seven assists and turned two double plays. Play him every day, please.
Josh Donaldson hitting the paternity list may have solved the Yankees problems
Sadly, the stubbornness of the front office and lack of a bold approach from manager Aaron Boone led to the situation unfolding like this. The Yankees didn’t have to “discover” this potentially season-altering move after Donaldson hit the paternity list. They could have just made the switch last week when Peraza got the call to the bigs.
Instead, there’s now the possibility Donaldson welcomes a child into the world and is rewarded with a seat on the bench.
Regardless, it was evident Donaldson was a problem for months now, so this is the Yankees’ fault for dragging their feet rather than being aggressive in finding a solution. The famous “Everyone Will Eventually Come Around, We Hope” approach doesn’t work.
IKF moving to third, already looking more comfortable on defense, and immediately looking better at the plate might be a total coincidence … but it probably isn’t! Read the signs.
The problem here will be the Yankees having to admit the Donaldson part of the Donaldson trade was a mistake, and fans know the front office won’t go down without a fight when it comes to that. They love being right. They can’t stomach being wrong, no matter how meaningless it may be.
But what would you rather have? A $25 million depth piece or a chance at reviving your roster before October? Whether Donaldson is regressing or playing injured (this is about to be his career-worst season), it’s not working. Time to change it up, even if two games feels like an incredibly small sample size.