Yankees' late-night Jasson Dominguez demotion is right decision, but it still stings

New York Yankees Spring Training
New York Yankees Spring Training / New York Yankees/GettyImages

No, Yankees 20-year-old phenom Jasson Dominguez shouldn't be on the Opening Day roster in place of an injured Harrison Bader. No, Jasson Dominguez shouldn't bypass a level of the minors and risk a developmental challenge just because of a phenomenal few weeks in March.

Still, when the Yankees chose to demote Dominguez to minor-league camp in the dead of night Thursday while everyone else was watching the NCAA Tournament, it still hurt more than a little to know that this part of the phenomenal ride was over. That a heater was being purposefully extinguished. That this moment in time had ended, the brief few weeks where we went from considering Dominguez an unknown to realizing his power/patience combo was popping exactly as expected.

If he wasn't going to make the big-league roster, couldn't he at least stick around a little bit longer and open a few more stubborn eyes?

In essence ... we know you had to, but ... did you have to?

Yankees demote sensation Jasson Dominguez to minor-league camp

Last year, Dominguez posted numbers -- as a 19-year-old -- that displayed an uncanny understanding of the strike zone, as well as burgeoning power. Across three levels, he hit .273 with 16 homers, a .375 OBP and an .836 OPS.

Still, most of that took place shrouded in the low-to-mid minors. Most Yankee fans didn't dive in and methodically watch Dominguez's reps last season. His year was taking place context-free in box scores that updated once daily. He wasn't smashing low-line singles to right or spitting on 3-2 breakers with Aaron Judge on deck.

Additionally, much of the work he did last season was couched by Randy Miller and his anonymous scouts telling you that, while the numbers might look good, Dominguez was no Mike Trout or Mickey Mantle. He might be, if he'd only work a bit harder and stop considering himself so damn big-league ready, they'd have you think.

Turns out, while it would be unfair to label him a bonafide big-leaguer after one spectacular spring, he was certainly closer than any of us following from afar would ever have known. If that was his attitude last year, perhaps it was only because he knew more about his own budding talent than Miller and the outsiders did.

Dominguez will be back, and he likely changed his own timeline with the work he's done the past few weeks. If not midsummer like Oswaldo Cabrera last year, perhaps he'll be up to ride the pine for a few weeks of September. If not 2023, he'll get a long look at the Gleyber Torres treatment: a mid-April promotion in 2024, once service time concerns have evaporated.

The work he did this spring should only make you further appreciate what the Yankees have. Still, it's hard not to say it ended too soon.