Yankees’ Josh Donaldson injury: A costly mistake or stroke of bad luck?

Josh Donaldson benched again on Sunday

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The New York Yankees made a significant move on Thursday, transferring third baseman Josh Donaldson to the 60-day injured list. This decision came after Donaldson revealed the severity of his injury to reporters in Los Angeles earlier in the week, suggesting that he might have suffered a season-ending setback. The injury in question is a tear in his right calf, which was labeled as a Grade 2-plus by one doctor and a Grade 3 by another, as reported by The Athletic

The incident that led to Donaldson’s injury occurred during a game against the Rockies in Colorado, where he came up lame while trying to run out a ground ball in the seventh inning of the Yankees’ 6-3 victory. The 37-year-old had been dealing with muscle pain for some time before this incident, which saw him kept at designated hitter for the final two games before the All-Star break and the two games after it. Additionally, he had already spent time on the injured list due to a right hamstring strain from April 8 to June 1.

As a result of the transfer to the 60-day injured list, Donaldson will be eligible to return to action in mid-September. However, given the severity of his injury and his status as a free agent after this season, his future in baseball hangs in the balance.

For Donaldson personally, this injury could spell the end of his illustrious career. In June, he hinted at the possibility of retiring after the 2023 season, and with the uncertain road to recovery ahead, he may lean towards calling it quits. Having earned over $164 million in MLB salaries throughout his career, the financial aspect might not push him to continue playing. If this is indeed the end, Donaldson leaves behind a remarkable legacy in the sport. His standout year came in 2015, where he earned the American League MVP title while playing for the Toronto Blue Jays, boasting an impressive .297 batting average with 41 home runs. A three-time All-Star and widely recognized as one of the best defensive third basemen of his era, Donaldson’s achievements are likely to earn him a place on the Hall of Fame ballot, even if he may not get elected.

For the Yankees, Donaldson’s transfer to the injured list comes as somewhat of a relief. Trading for Donaldson turned out to be a major disappointment for the team, with General Manager Brian Cashman shouldering the blame for this costly mistake. Not only did the $50 million salary commitment to Donaldson tie up significant payroll resources, but it also prevented the Yankees from making other crucial roster moves. Moreover, the deal freed up payroll space for the Minnesota Twins to sign shortstop Carlos Correa, further exacerbating the failure.

Parting ways with Donaldson now allows the Yankees to avoid playing an aging and underperforming veteran, providing an opportunity to explore younger talents like Oswald Peraza. As they focus on the future, the team can assess Peraza’s potential and determine if he’s a promising piece for their lineup moving forward.

In conclusion, the Yankees’ decision to transfer Josh Donaldson to the 60-day injured list marks a turning point in both the player’s career and the team’s roster dynamics. Donaldson faces an uncertain future as he recovers from a severe injury, contemplating retirement after an illustrious career. On the other hand, the Yankees can move forward without the burden of a disappointing trade, giving them an opportunity to reevaluate their lineup and plan for a brighter future.

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