Brian Cashman shipping Jordan Montgomery to the St. Louis Cardinals seconds before the 2022 trade deadline expired, weakening a Yankees rotation that needed strengthening, sent shockwaves through the team’s clubhouse and fan base. But don’t tell that to the trade’s return. He’s just here to compete.
Though Harrison Bader, slated to return to the Yankees on Sept. 20 for his team debut, doesn’t have much time left in 2022 to prove the Twitter discourse wrong, he has a few weeks and a postseason to start the clock on 2023, when he’ll also be under contract.
Ask Bader, though, and he couldn’t care less about the online chatter. He has no time for comparisons. By all accounts, he seems like the type of player Yankees fans will love (pending success) or tolerate (pending failure).
Per Ken Rosenthal’s account of Bader’s months-long rehabilitation for a foot issue, cresting in his sudden role as a likely starter on a playoff-approaching Yankees team, the outfielder either feigns ignorance or embodies ignorance whenever anyone asks him about Montgomery or the expectations heaped upon his shoulders.
“I haven’t seen that.” Good! Why would you? Bader’s out doing the work.
Harrison Bader ready to rejoin Yankees, doesn’t care about Jordan Montgomery
Rosenthal’s article paints a picture of Bader as a perfect presence to join this Yankees team midstream. According to the man himself, all he wants to focus on is what he can still accomplish.
And according to former teammate (and now current teammate) Matt Carpenter, Bader is the type of player who won’t look at himself as a postseason savior, but only as a contributor, out to do his job every single day.
He’s also painted as a seriously skilled showman, though, for what it’s worth. Just because he’s only focused on what he can control doesn’t mean he doesn’t believe he can be a Gold Glove defender with a flair for the dramatic. That’s simply who he is, according to Carpenter and former manager Oli Marmol, who acknowledges that any lapses in judgment come from Bader’s ultra-competitive nature, and that he knows anytime he strays, he’s not embodying a “World Series mentality”.
In addition to his participation in Rosenthal’s article, Bader also had the other type of non-verbal “perfect response” this week: a well-timed bomb in his rehab work with Double-A Somerset.
With Aaron Hicks essentially banished to the bench, potentially playing his way off the postseason roster, the opportunity to become essential is right in front of Bader.
All he has to do is be himself — and forget about that lefty in St. Louis. He wouldn’t have started a playoff game this year anyway, right?