You love Harrison Bader. I love Harrison Bader. The New York Yankees love Harrison Bader. He's a difference maker in countless ways. He's the truest form of a baseball player when factoring in athleticism, instinct and looking the part.
Yet, somehow, general manager Brian Cashman may not be able to call the Bader-for-Jordan Montgomery swap with the St. Louis Cardinals last year a "win" when all is said and done.
It sounds utterly crazy, too. Bader's impact in last year's postseason saved the Yankees from an embarrassing ALDS elimination. His performance in 2023 has coincided with the team's best stretch of baseball across the first two months of the season.
But, once again, Cashman acquired an oft-injured player that has seen the field for just 40 regular-season games dating back to the beginning of last August. And, once again, Cashman had all the information in front of him.
Bader missed the start of this season with an oblique injury and just landed on the shelf again with a hamstring strain, which should keep him out a couple of weeks, which is sadly more of the same for the 28-year-old.
Brian Cashman didn't whiff on Yankees-Harrison Bader trade, did he?
Last year, Bader was sidelined for almost half the season with plantar fasciitis. Back in 2021, Bader missed nearly 60 games with forearm and rib injuries. He dealt with migraines during the shortened 2020 season. The year prior in 2019 he missed over 30 games with neck, hamstring and elbow injuries. Hamstring and knee issues bothered him a bit in 2018.
Some of Cashman's trade acquisitions, like Scott Effross, Lou Trivino, Andrew Benintendi and Ben Rortvedt, are considered "bad luck" injury situations. But ones like Bader, Giancarlo Stanton, Frankie Montas and James Paxton are considered "bad research."
Even though Jordan Montgomery wouldn't be doing much of anything for the Yankees right now outside of eating innings in the back end of the starting rotation, it pains fans (and the lineup!) to see Bader on the shelf knowing how impactful he is and how much he elevates the roster. It constantly feels like Yankees fans are always wondering what might have been because one or multiple pieces of the puzzle are missing when they're needed most.
Bader is, without question, even with his previous inconsistent and underwhelming play, a more valuable player than Montgomery. But Monty has made all of his 22 starts since joining the Cards.
If Bader's constantly missing time and throwing off the Yankees' mojo, how can that be considered a "win" for Cashman?