Not Finding a Way to Get Rid of Josh Donaldson
When Josh Donaldson homers in 2023, the Yankees are 0-6. When he's awful, the Yankees lose anyway. When he's away from the team for an extended period of time, the Yankees couldn't look better.
But there was no way the Yankees were admitting defeat on one of the worst trades in recent franchise history. Come on, you know them better than that by now.
What if they decided to get ahead of one horrific scenario, though? Just one. Jettisoning Donaldson in the offseason when he wasn't viewed this unfavorably (the way he is in late June) was definitely a possibility. Maybe the Yankees needed to attach a prospect to him in a trade. Maybe they would've had to pay down some of his salary. Whatever it would've taken, it would've been worth it.
They knew they had DJ LeMahieu stuck here for the next four seasons, and he's just as capable of a third baseman (and a better hitter, even though he's dreadful right now, too!). They knew they had Oswaldo Cabrera as a budding utility player (even though he's regressed). They knew they had Isiah Kiner-Falefa as their true veteran utility player, who's best at third base. There were so many options to absorb a Donaldson departure.
Instead, after importing a vocal Yankee agitator, the team stood by him after a career-worst season that didn't offer any indication of a bounce back -- it was actually definitive proof of a guaranteed decline. He can't hit 94 MPH fastballs over the heart of the plate. He has nine hits on the season, seven of which are home runs (none of which have translated to team success), and he has a 72 OPS+ to follow up his 95 mark in 2022. But it was all worth it to trade Gary Sánchez because you were afraid to non-tender him, right?