Unless you're hanging a banner in your bedroom for the New York Yankees' 2022 ALDS triumph over the Cleveland Guardians, then chances are you have viewed the Harrison Bader for Jordan Montgomery swap as a failure.
If you were upset about the Yankees placing Bader on waivers in August only to see him depart for the Cincinnati Reds, chances are that no longer matters to you, either. Jasson Dominguez's quick burst onto the scene before his elbow injury made everyone forget about Bader, even with the star prospect out for the first half of the 2024 season.
For those hanging on to any Bader nostalgia at this point, this should be the final blow to have it all dissipate. Not only has Bader been bad since his arrival to Cincinnati, but he just landed on the injured list again with a groin issue.
In 2023 alone, he's had oblique, hamstring, rib and groin injuries. Last year his Yankees debut was delayed because of plantar fasciitis. He saved himself in 2022 with a nuclear performance in the postseason, but couldn't hold onto the magic long enough to last in New York.
And sadly, this sums up his MLB career. He's a promising player with all-around talent, but cannot get out of the way of injuries, which makes it all the more confounding Cashman decided to trade for him and then decide against trading him at this year's deadline, only to part with him for nothing less than a month later.
Harrison Bader's tenure with Reds is sad sequel to once-promising Yankees career
Remember we were begging for that extension for Bader? Now he's forgotten. Now he's somehow somebody else's problem. He undeniably fueled the Yankees on numerous occasions, but he was just as insignificant as he was influential. A very confusing career.
Bader was among those who caught Yankees Disease in 2023. He succumbed to poor/inconsistent play in between his ailments. His attitude may have suffered if we could appropriately infer from a few moments (the staredown of Jake Bauers in the outfield and the light stroll from center field as the Yankees endured a benches-clearing near-brawl with the Rays).
Never did Yankees fans think it would turn out this poorly, though. Not for the team or the individual. Usually, when somebody leaves the Yankees, they're immediately injected with a superiority serum as they quickly erase the bad vibes that engulfed them in New York. But Bader's defied that trend.
Though he expressed excitement about being in the NL playoff race, his stat line suggests otherwise. And his latest injury could very well knock him out for the remainder of the regular season, depending on the severity. If the Reds don't leapfrog the Marlins and Cubs, his 2023 campaign could be over.
That means he'd be heading into free agency with another partial season (98 games) under his belt with a .240/.278/.622/69 OPS+ line and a 0.8 WAR. To think less than a year ago he was nearly anointed a Yankees playoff savior. Again, just another sad situation for everyone involved.