One New York Yankees insider from The Athletic says one thing ... and the other says the opposite? Who are we to believe?! And how can we possibly deal with such contrasting viewpoints when fans are united in agreeing with one side?
A few weeks back, Chris Kirschner predicted Josh Donaldson would be on the bench for Opening Day, with DJ LeMahieu starting at third base and Gleyber Torres starting at second base. That seemed to feel more true when we saw LeMahieu taking ground balls at third base last week at the Yankees' complex in Tampa.
And this is the way it should be, right? Despite Donaldson's Gold Glove-caliber defense, his offensive regression in 2022 was something that cannot be ignored. And there's nothing to suggest he'll be able to rediscover his form, especially now that he's entering his age-37 season. Wouldn't one assume the defense might fall off a bit in that advanced age, too?
LeMahieu's a stud at the hot corner, too, and his bat, even when he's battling injuries, proved to be worlds better than Donaldson's when he was fully healthy this past season. Not to mention, the Yankees are still reportedly trying to trade Donaldson! Why would he be in the Opening Day plans?
Not sure! But fellow insider Brendan Kuty of The Athletic seems to think so. He's got Donaldson starting at third, DJLM starting at second, and Torres on the bench, just like Opening Day in 2022.
Insider's Opening Day Yankees lineup won't sit well with fans. Josh Donaldson?
The problem is ... 2023 is much different than 2022. Last year, Donaldson had just been acquired and there were high expectations for him to succeed Gio Urshela. As for Torres, he was ostracized due to his horrific stint at shortstop, which brought the entire team down. Not only was his defense terrible, but he allowed it to affect him so deeply that his offense was cumulatively below average across 2020 and 2021. He didn't deserve to start Opening Day.
This time around, Donaldson's 2022 showing on offense essentially negated his terrific defense. And don't forget about his tasteless trash talk directed at Tim Anderson that seemingly took the wind out of the Yankees' sails. After that, Donaldson, who was partially brought into town to add some flair to the Yankees' (at times) lifeless dugout, couldn't even do that beyond May.
On the other hand, for as frustrating as Torres is as a player, he played very good defense at second base and still put up respectable numbers (24 HR, 76 RBI, .761 OPS, 114 OPS+) in spite of his unforgivable performance in the month of August.
When LeMahieu's healthy, he's better than both of these guys. But if we're playing the "Flavor of the Year" card, Torres trumped Donaldson big time in 2022, which says a lot because Torres wasn't all that impressive.
For all the folks out there who talk about "running it back," this would be exactly that. Kuty also predicting LeMahieu will get most of his reps at second base? How? Where is Torres going? Perhaps we need some more clarity here, because it sure seems as if LeMahieu will get most of his reps at third base and first base, since there'd be more of a preference to kick Donaldson to the bench and give Anthony Rizzo a few days off his feet at DH.