Yankees' Harrison Bader returns to NL Central with surprise waiver claim

Farewell to a hometown kid, hello to Jasson Dominguez.
New York Yankees v Miami Marlins
New York Yankees v Miami Marlins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

The attitude in the Yankees' fanbase surrounding Harrison Bader being placed on waivers changed substantially when it was revealed that Jasson Dominguez would be replacing him on the roster.

Still, the toll of Thursday's waiver bell would reveal which team claimed Bader and whether he would be departing (it seemed likely he would be).

Who would take the plunge and relieve the Yankees of just under $1 million in salary? Going in reverse order of MLB's standings, it seemed rivals like Toronto or Boston could step in to make this maneuver frustrating. Maybe the Twins needed pop and center field defense?

One Blue Jays podcaster even tried to claim, about 30 minutes before the claim deadline, that Bader was about to jump ship to the Yankees' rival in Toronto. Nope. False.

Instead, he'll head back to his divisional roots and contend for an NL Wild Card spot with the Cincinnati Reds. The power in the NL Central has changed hands a little in his year away.

Yankees center fielder Harrison Bader headed to Cincinnati Reds

Placing Bader on waivers wasn't just a cost-cutting measure this season. It facilitated the promotion of Jasson Dominguez, and will allow him to get regular playing time down the stretch. It also seems like a pretty strong signal that the Yankees will not be pursuing Bader on a multi-year deal after the season ends, and wanted to do him a favor/give him a chance to play meaningful baseball down the stretch. They wrapped their bitter pill in a silver lining.

Bader, a childhood Yankee fan, did get to play for his local team. He did get to star in one postseason, during which he ripped five homers. It would be nice to remember that star turn differently, and to recall Bader as an October hero rather than one of many participants in an era-defining sweep at the hands of the Astros.

Wherever Bader's future is, we're glad he shared his exuberance with the Bronx faithful and mashed lefties during his time in pinstripes.