After a brief, frustrating-to-watch resurgence in Milwaukee, Josh Donaldson's 2023 season abruptly ended when the Arizona Diamondbacks swept the Brewers in the Wild Card series. But the damage was done. New York Yankees fans agonizingly witnessed the slugger return to form in a new setting.
Classic. So, so classic. Yet, something Brian Cashman and the Yankees front office/brass still can't grasp even though it happens multiple times a year with various players. Some day it will end. But we can suspect it definitely will not in 2024.
Why? Well, the Yankees have a number of free agents departing, including Luis Severino, Frankie Montas, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Wandy Peralta and others. Donaldson is also among that group. His 17-game stint with the Brew Crew has taken him into free agency.
Some have speculated he's probably ready to hang up his cleats, based on his odd farewell message after the Yankees granted him his release. But in a recent interview with theScore, Donaldson has made it known he wants to play one more year and "go out on a good note."
That pretty much acknowledges his time with the Yankees was an absolute disaster ... because he didn't say another single word about New York in this lengthy Q&A.
Josh Donaldson all but confirms his Yankees tenure was a disaster
His chances of finishing his decorated career strong are actually high as long as he's outside of the Bronx, where so many talented players have caught Yankees Disease and felt their powers get zapped from their bodies.
Donaldson was one of them. After a controversial back-and-forth with White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson, which resulted in Donaldson getting suspended by the league, the third baseman was never the same again. That occurred in May of 2022. In 165 games from 2022-2023 with the Bombers, Donaldson hit .207 with a .678 OPS and 90 OPS+ with 180 strikeouts. His .293 OBP was downright pitiful. His once-sterling defense slipped dramatically, too.
All of this resulted in his gradual exile. A couple of lengthy IL trips that seemed contrived -- a Yankees tactic of yesteryear to simply make players "go away." He was then released on Aug. 29 -- a move that was long overdue.
And what do you know? Donaldson wants to reunite with the Blue Jays, who just so happen to have a vacancy at third base with Matt Chapman hitting free agency. How fitting would it be for Donaldson to return to the AL East to terrorize the Yankees one last time before he calls it a career?
Maybe that happening will finally force the Yankees to identify Brian Cashman as the problem? Or maybe that'll just give Cashman more ammo to claim, "Hey, another playoff team picked up another one of our former players, so tell me what was wrong with this trade!".