jasson dominguez yankees
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The 2024 season has gone better than the Yankees have planned. The Bronx Bombers are atop the AL East at 44-19, three-and-a-half games ahead of Baltimore. Their +115 run differential is the best in baseball, and the forgettable shell of 2023 is far in the rearview mirror.

That is, except for the year’s lone bright spot: top prospect Jasson Dominguez. He hit .258 with four home runs in just eight games last year before needing Tommy John surgery. Dominguez recently started playing rehab games and is batting a robust .310 with a .927 OPS through 16 of them. He’s also added four home runs.

So what does this mean for the 21-year-old switch-hitter? He doesn’t have a spot on the big league roster and the Yankees’ outfield is set. Aaron Judge and Juan Soto are in an MVP race while spitfire Alex Verdugo leads all outfielders with +9 defensive runs saved (DRS). Giancarlo Stanton and his big contract aren’t going anywhere either.

What’s Brian Cashman to do? As of now, it seems Jasson Dominguez is only Bronx-bound if someone gets hurt. It’s every Yankees fan real-life nightmare, a strong year derailed by injuries.

Simply adding him to the roster won’t do either. Designating someone like Trent Grisham and Jahmai Jones is pointless. Dominguez’s talent is such that he needs to play almost daily, and also why it’s unlikely Cashman trades him at next month’s deadline. It’s hard to believe he’ll part with five-tool talent for anything less than a blockbuster return.

No spot on the roster, but no trade on the horizon either. Jasson Dominguez, like so many New York Yankees prospects before him, is stuck in Quadruple-A limbo.

Or is he?

Keep in mind, this isn’t the Yankees’ first rodeo with position players needing Tommy John surgery. In fact, it’s their third. Didi Gregorius had it after the 2018 season and played well in 82 games the following year before hitting free agency.

This happened again after the 2019 season when Aaron Hicks injured his elbow in the playoffs. The shortened 2020 season meant he didn’t miss games, but his swing never recovered. Even worse, the Yankees had just signed him to an extension, and ultimately cut him last year.

Call me crazy, but the Yankees can turn this Jasson Dominguez conundrum into quite the opportunity. Throw out any ideas about Cashman playing roster chess or swinging some trade so that Dominguez can come to the Bronx without upsetting the vibes in the clubhouse. There’s an even easier decision staring the Yankees right in the face:

Leave Jasson Dominguez right where he is.

Think about it. The last thing the Yankees want to do is rush him back, no matter how well he’s been playing. Verdugo’s expiring contract opens up a spot for Dominguez next year.

What if the answer is to play it super-conservative with Dominguez’s rehab and wait until September to bring him back? It’s an untraditional idea, but definitely not a bad one either.

Furthermore, what if the Yankees were already planning this? Manager Aaron Boone only offered a curt “We’ll see” as it came to Dominguez’s return to the majors. Cashman only offered a timeline of “sometime in the summer” back in January.

Well, it’s currently June 6 and summer, for all intents and purposes, is basically here. Dominguez isn’t coming up now, so when in the summer will he? After the All-Star Break? Mid-August? Bueller?

It’s not as simple a solution as we think. The Yankees are trying to balance Dominguez coming back at full strength with a big league roster that is at full strength. And with Gerrit Cole on the injured list, at that!

Why not keep Jasson Dominguez in the minors for as long as possible in 2024? Eight games is still a small sample size, even with the home run off of Justin Verlander in his MLB debut. The Yankees should not promote him until they are absolutely positive that he can be an everyday player and play at a high level.

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.