Harrison Bader being placed on waivers may have been shocking, secretive, and a little disrespectful. The 2023 Yankees' season may be long over, from a "relevance in the standings" standpoint.
But ... don't pretend you won't be a little intrigued if the Yankees use a distracting Jasson Dominguez promotion to fill Bader's spot, which is reportedly under consideration and has reached the desk of Hal Steinbrenner.
Adding Dominguez to the roster felt like an absurd pipe dream just a week ago. As recently as June, he was struggling to master Double-A pitching, hitting .186 with a .625 OPS for the month while striking out (37 times) far more often than he walked (19). Even as he picked up the pace significantly in July, then reached new heights in August, a Triple-A promotion felt like the best the Yankees could do for him down the stretch. And would welcoming him into a toxic, losing clubhouse, with all the pressure in the world heaped upon his shoulders really do more good than getting his feet wet against the WooSox?
(Sigh) Would you rather think about all that heaviness, though, instead of just watching Dominguez hit lasers and sprint to home plate safely on an infield single to the right side? Look at this play from Tuesday night. LOOK AT THIS.
Yankees could promote ultra-exciting Jasson Dominguez in September roster expansion
Be real with yourself. It's not like, while watching Dominguez, you're going to forget about Brian Cashman's ineptitude or Hal Steinbrenner's misplaced loyalty. You can think of two things at the same time. Watching and enjoying a ridiculous Dominguez ascent and dreaming about the future isn't putting money in Steinbrenner's pocket (and, even if it was, someone else would do it for you if you shut your eyes and watched "Real Housewives of New York" instead).
Will giving Dominguez the majority of center field reps down the stretch "work"? It depends on your definition of success. Adding Dominguez is unlikely to make the Yankees a bonafide spoiler down the stretch. He alone does not make them a "fixed" offense. There's a chance he hits the ground running the same way he did at Triple-A, hitting .444 with a 1.124 OPS in his first eight games and pushing his season OPS above .800. There's a chance he struggles the same way he did in April at Somerset.
Regardless of the result, the Yankees have plenty of minor-league evidence that Dominguez can struggle, struggle, struggle, then lock it in. It's fair to worry about doing damage to his psyche with an extended 0-fer, but he hasn't been that guy in the minors yet. All you can do is hope he won't be that guy moving forward, with many months between September and April.
When Dominguez was promoted to the highest level of the minors, all we asked was that they put him on the Volpe Plan and give him a real chance to earn a starting job in 2024 with a standout camp. But now ... with so much chatter in the big-league front office ... it's fair to ask for a little something more. Look at that speed. You'd watch.