Oswald Peraza (Sorry!)
Here's where it gets tough. When Bader comes back, Calhoun will more than likely be gone. When Donaldson comes back, will they use Oswald Peraza (promoted on Sunday in Stanton's spot) as a placeholder? Will they take advantage of his minor-league options while further scuttling his confidence?
If not ... that leaves Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who's owed $6 million and is beloved as a bench utility man by the front office. That leaves Aaron Hicks, who's owed $30 million over the next three years, but is despised by the fan base and seems to be unable to summon up the will to win, at this point. After all, who wants to impress a bunch of people who hate them?
And that leaves Franchy Cordero, who led the Yankees in RBI entering the weekend series against the Minnesota Twins. All four of his home runs during his stretch carrying the Bombers' offense have been massive, capped by his game-tying shot off Guardians reliever Trevor Stephan on Wednesday that traveled 439 feet and left the bat at 112.7 MPH.
Cordero has always possessed stunning offensive talent, but has never put it together for any longer than fits and spurts at the big-league level. He's the quintessential exit velocity darling. "No one's fixed him yet. Maybe he can't be fixed ... or maybe I can fix him."
As of this writing, letting Cordero go would feel absolutely absurd, but in a few weeks, it's possible the tide turns and this decision gets less sticky. Odds are, Peraza and Calhoun get the boot, even though May 1 should be Hicks' expiration date.
His complaining, lollygagging and, yes, poor performance could all work in tandem to convince Hal Steinbrenner that eating the money is the right call, in this rare scenario. But ... yeah, no way, right?