The last time we checked in on Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson's career timeline, the veteran wasn't sure if he'd be attempting to play in 2024, a season that features a mutual option in New York with a $6 million buyout attached.
His recent Grade 3 calf strain/partial tear has landed him on the 60-day injured list, part of an odd maneuver where the Yankees used his 40-man spot on reliever Matt Bowman to prevent the righty from opting out, then demoted him to Triple-A anyway. The injury will likely keep Donaldson out for the remainder of the season, and probably flushes his career -- in the Bronx, at least.
Therefore, it's pretty fitting that his "final line" in the Bronx after a controversy-filled two years looks like something straight out of The Satanic Verses.
Donaldson, imported by Brian Cashman to be "not Gio Urshela," was a defensive star and drilled an unforgettable walkoff grand slam to author a great escape last summer against the Rays. Unfortunately, that homer did nothing to stem the tide amid the team's August collapse; they went on to lose three more games to the Blue Jays in that game's immediate aftermath.
Donaldson was emblematic of the 2022 Yankees, a 99-win that started on a far better pace and still managed to make that total seem disappointing (their Pythagorean Record ended up at 106-56, meaning they were wildly unlucky and suffered a disproportionate number of bullpen meltdowns). The third baseman's April was tough, but his May portended a rebound (.279/.371/.475 with an .847 OPS). Unfortunately, that was also the month where he blunted his team's momentum by calling White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson "Jackie," an indefensible moment that clouded the rest of his time in pinstripes.
Doubtlessly, something cosmic caused him to finish Yankees career with 666 plate appearances. Fitting.
Yankees Josh Donaldson to 60-Day Injured List, as well as 666-AB Injured List
Be honest. A 92 OPS+ is actually better than you expected.
Donaldson's enduring memory in New York will either be the Anderson incident or his 2022 postseason pockmarked with glazed-eye stares at fastballs down the middle. He was brought in to be a proven playoff performer with the mental fortitude to jolt the Yankees' attitude when needed (by tweaking his opponents). Unfortunately, the only skin he got under was clad in pinstriped jerseys.
Donaldson's 2023 season will go down as one of the oddest ever. His eyes were still gone and his reaction time -- which eroded bit by bit last year -- was permanently slowed, but he did manage to out-OPS most of the rest of this godawful lineup this summer with his 10 homers in 106 at-bats.
Unfortunately, as a pure guess hitter, that was literally all he was able to do; he only secured five non-homer hits this season and batted .142 overall. Bon voyage, Josh, and enjoy that mutual option. You were no Pee Wee Reese.