In a perfect world, the New York Yankees never traded for Josh Donaldson. In a decent world, he wouldn't have had a career-worst season in 2022. In a tolerable world, he would be silent this offseason and wouldn't give us anything distasteful to quote.
We can't even have option three? We're not asking for much! Donaldson is juuuust behind Aaron Hicks for most disliked Yankee, and so far he hasn't helped himself at Spring Training.
He's looked pretty lost even during practice at-bats. The Yankees' youth movement provides more and more of an argument for the team to just figure out a fresh new infield situation with him out of the picture. Just find somebody to eat any of this money and move on.
And worst of all, Donaldson was (for some reason) asked to weigh in on his 2022, as if anybody needed further insight on one of the most disappointing showings (on offense) in all of MLB.
Actually, that wasn't the worst part! His response was. He essentially pegged it on the lockout, which every single player had to endure and navigate.
Josh Donaldson's explanation for 2022 struggles with Yankees doesn't add up
"I took [the struggles] to heart last year. Coming in here with the mindset of doing the things that I’ve done before. A three-week spring training, kind of getting ready, ramped up, and the unknown of when we were going to get going last year. I feel better today than where I was last year."- Josh Donaldson via the NY Post
By no means is it reasonable to suggest that the lockout wasn't difficult on everybody ... but that's just simply not going to fly with a lot of fans if it's coming from a 12-year MLB veteran and former MVP. It's the easiest "excuse" to conjure up when discussing any sort of struggle related to the 2022 season.
And not for nothin', but Donaldson's best stretch was April-May, with May being his most productive month of the year! He walked off Opening Day against the Red Sox and slugged a clutch home run against the Orioles, which bought him enough time to survive a subpar April, and then he hit .279 with an .847 OPS in May before absolutely cratering in June and then limping the rest of the way.
A player of Donaldson's caliber (before arriving in New York) never would've "needed" Spring Training as a necessary means to wholeheartedly prepare for a full 162-game season. The team's most valuable assets get their reps in here and there and limit themselves to avoid further wear and tear or even injury. Donaldson played in 13 spring games in 2021 with the Twins and NINE with the Braves in 2019. He got 10 games of action with the Yankees in 2022.
So, yeah, this doesn't really add up. Because, in the end, even if players don't have team resources to utilize during a situation such as a lockout, they should be able to get by and properly train (if that was even the potential issue here) at their own devices.