Instead of trading any of their remaining, expiring assets at the deadline, the New York Yankees stood pat, told us they were in it to win it, and then placed Harrison Bader on waivers at the end of the month. The Cincinnati Reds claimed him, the Yankees saved ~$800K, and Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner continue to look worse by the hour.
Bader could've been had for something in a trade. Instead, the Yankees heartlessly shucked him off the roster without any communication. They could've been open with him about their potential deadline plans. They could've been candid with him about their September plans. They weren't. Just like Bader arrived, via a terrible blindside Jordan Montgomery departure, he very much left under similar circumstances.
They treated someone who wanted to be a Yankee and who took pride in being a Yankee with seemingly no respect. Though Bader's body language toward the end of his tenure didn't exactly reveal a desire to ride or die with this horrible iteration of the team, most of his actions over the past year did.
He leveled up in big moments when the team needed him most. He was a dugout energizer and the architect of many celebratory moments with his teammates. Whenever the camera panned to him, he had a smile on his face and was dishing out high fives.
But the Yankees proceeded to go 31-45 since June and all the good vibes wore off quicker than they arrived when Bader was activated off the IL this year. He got injured again, which unfortunately characterized most of his time in New York. He still loved being here, though, based on the message he sent to the fans after his move to Cincinnati became official.
Harrison Bader's goodbye message reveals what could have been for Yankees
All we're saying? It just would've been nice to keep a guy who liked it here, since it seems like everybody else who puts on this uniform is either a robot or finds it burdensome.
Bader was vocal about his pride in the pinstripes. And his actions seemed like they were starting to renew the feeling that hasn't existed in quite some time (with the exception of Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole). Isiah Kiner-Falefa has actually been a proud Yankee, but he's unfortunately far from beloved. Carlos Rodón has had nice things to say, but he hasn't played well. Giancarlo Stanton's accountability comments, as upsetting as it sounds, are beating the dead horse. The commentary needs to coincide with exemplary (or clutch) performance.
In the end, extending Bader probably wasn't the answer for the Yankees, even though it seemed like a no-brainer about two months ago. But this could've been a longer-term match that would've benefitted all parties had the Yankees' rotten 2023 not upended everything. They finally got their hands on a clear personality/character fit, and barely a year later, he's sent off like it never happened.
Upsetting. We'll always have the postseason home runs, but we'll also always be wondering what Bader patrolling the outfield with a number of promising young Yankees prospects would've looked like. That, and how another year and a half of Montgomery might've benefitted this floundering pitching staff.
How could one trade provide this many negative feelings?