3 Yankees players we'll be glad are gone in 2024 and 2 we wish stayed

Goodbye and goodbye. But the second round of goodbyes were harder.

New York Yankees v Oakland Athletics
New York Yankees v Oakland Athletics / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages
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Yankees player fans are thrilled to see gone: Josh Donaldson

OK, here's a serious question that's worth a poll among fans: Was Josh Donaldson or Joey Gallo the more infuriating Yankee?

Both were acquired via trade, pretty much spent the same amount of time in New York (from a games played perspective), and offered absolutely nothing. Donaldson, however, was an expected thorn in everybody's side and came at a much higher cost. Gallo might've fetched more headlines for his inexplicably terrible play, but Donaldson rolled up every kind of awfulness into a ball and dropped it like an atom bomb in the middle of Yankee Stadium.

The season before the Yankees decided to import the remaining $50 million attached to Donaldson (which prevented them from signing better free agents), all the while shipping off a fan-favorite in Gio Urshela for no apparent reason other than attempting to get value for Gary Sánchez's final year of arbitration, the former MVP (yes, former MVP!!) publicly ripped Gerrit Cole, the Yankees' second-most important player, for using sticky stuff. Yup, that's a guy you surely accommodate into your very important plans for 2022 and 2023.

Here's a quick timeline of what happened during Donaldson's tenure:

  • Walk-off hit on Opening Day against the Red Sox
  • Suspended for calling Tim Anderson "Jackie"
  • Cried like a baby when Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo called him "Daddy"
  • Finished 2022 with his worst OPS and OPS+ marks since his rookie season
  • Struck out 16 times in 36 playoff plate appearances that year
  • Suffered an injury on April 5 of 2023
  • Tried to come back on a rehab assignment while he was STILL INJURED
  • Sliced his hand open while "putting something together at home" with his daughter
  • Batted .144 in his next 28 games, with 13 total hits (nine of which were home runs)
  • Argued with Aaron Boone about his playing time, forcing the Yankees manager to be late to a presser and answer questions as to why he was late to the presser, prompting him to very clearly lie about his interaction with Donaldson
  • Suffered a calf strain, placed on the 60-Day IL
  • Released on Aug. 29

He ended his Yankees career hitting .207 with a .678 OPS and 90 OPS+. He struck out 180 times in 165 games. His defense at third base suffered for no apparent reason. In 2021, he was still very much a capable player, hitting 27 home runs with an .827 OPS. It's the most steep career decline in modern baseball history.

And it of course happened the moment he put on a Yankees jersey. He was never a fit, and all of these baffling occurrences further confirmed that. Good riddance.

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