Josh Donaldson Yankees
Tommy Gilligan | USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees announced they have released third baseman Josh Donaldson.

Thus ends a forgettable Bronx tenure for the former MVP. The Yankees acquired Donaldson from the Twins ahead of the 2022 season for Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela. New York also netted Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Ben Rortvedt in the deal.

In turn, Donaldson hit .207 with 25 home runs and 77 RBI in just 165 games with the Yankees. He was batting .142 with ten home runs in 33 games this year before being sidelined by hamstring and calf injuries. Donaldson had also recently begun taking batting practice again.

This will easily go down as general manager Brian Cashman’s biggest mistake. Josh Donaldson should have been the big bat in the lineup to complement Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. Instead, we now add him to the list of former stars who just couldn’t cut it in New York. Not even borderline Gold Glove defense undoes how much this trade failed.

Even worse, the Yankees took on all of Donaldson’s contract. They’ll pay the remainder of his $21 million salary for the season, plus an $8 million mutual buyout for 2024. This isn’t the first time the Yankees have done this this season, having released Aaron Hicks earlier this summer.

And though Hicks eventually re-signed with the Orioles, Josh Donaldson faces a more uncertain future. All he did this season was prove he still has his raw power and bat speed. Those ten home runs are among just 15 total hits on the season. He’ll be 38 once free agency is in full swing.

Furthermore, for the Yankees to release Donaldson now can only mean they had no plans to play him the rest of the season. Manager Aaron Boone essentially confirmed this when the news broke during his weekly appearance on the “Talkin’ Yanks” podcast. He leaves the Yankees as, essentially, a watered down Jacoby Ellsbury.

That said, Donaldson still had some solid moments in pinstripes. His walk-off single against the Red Sox on Opening Day helped kickstart his New York career. Who can forget his walk-off grand slam against the Rays while the Yankees were in an awful slump?

The Yankees tried to make Josh Donaldson work. It wasn’t a good fit. Let’s move on and get the team younger.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.