Josh Donaldson’s pre-Game 4 comments will haunt Yankees all offseason


500 years into the future, when the New York Yankees franchise could either be prosperous once more or long-ago folded, and when the country could take on any number of complexions, rest assured that Josh Donaldson will somehow still be standing amidst the rubble, claiming he felt he was taking some pretty good swings out there.

Donaldson’s existence was difficult to reconcile all season long. Despite well-above-average power indicators and exit velocity from 2021, the slugger hit the aging curve hard in 2022, delivering excellent defense and poor offense, outside of that one time he hit a game-winning grand slam against Tampa and screamed, “We’re back!” despite not being back.

Donaldson is also, on top of everything, extremely costly. The Yankees absorbed his $25 million luxury tax hit in 2022 (and 2023!), all for the pleasure of also obtaining Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who lost his shortstop gig during the ’22 postseason, won it back, and wrecked a double play chance that sealed the Astros’ sweep.

Bryce Harper, whom the Yankees passed on? He costs $27 million annually, and is slightly better than Donaldson. But other than that, things seem to be going well.

This offseason, the Yankees will desperately search for a way to clear Donaldson’s salary, as well as Aaron Hicks’ salary, as well as so many other salaries. And, during that search, Donaldson’s comments from before Game 4 of the ALCS will be ringing in their ears.

Yankees’ Josh Donaldson believes he’s taking some pretty good swings … into the offseason

Donaldson thought he got some good swings. Didn’t feel that bad. Aaron Boone couldn’t figure out why his third baseman was the target of vitriol, either, with his sterling .400 OBP in the ALDS and everything.

Maybe the hatred was because Donaldson stands for everything wrong with this current administration, which is perfectly willing to toss exponentially-increasing contracts at all the wrong players? Maybe it was directed at his .077 ALCS average with one double and 10 strikeouts in 13 at-bats? Or maybe it was a season’s worth of frustration boiling over, because Donaldson was supposed to be the team’s “agitator” before nearly throwing the campaign off course by lobbing insults at Tim Anderson that many perceived as outright racist?

After that controversy, Donaldson called the team out for not standing by his side. They then proceeded to stand by his side a little too close, as he provided next to nothing during a playoff run marred by offensive failure one-through-nine.

And, of course, there’s Brian Cashman, the man who acquired him, jettisoned Gio Urshela, and bragged about it, all for the gap between his team and the Astros to widen.

Remember when Urshela playing short seemed like the 2022 Yankees’ worst-case scenario? Oops.

Say what you will about Cashman, though, but he still feels like he’s taking some good swings on the trade market. And that’s really all that matters.