New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson just turned 37, and he’s coming off the worst season of his career in his first year in the Bronx. Did the 2015 American League MVP think about quitting baseball this offseason?
In an interview with Jon Heyman of the New York Post, Donaldson said he still feels like he can be a contributor rather than the player who struggled to hit .222 with 15 home runs and 62 RBIs in the heart of the Yankees’ order last season.
“If I felt like I didn’t have anything left to offer the game, I wouldn’t have reported to camp,” Donaldson said. “I feel like I have (something) in the tank, or I wouldn’t show up. Obviously, I feel like I do. That’s why I’m here. And I’m going to give it everything I have.”
No doubt the New York Yankees wouldn’t have minded if Josh Donaldson hung up the cleats after his putrid 2022 campaign. New York has a glut of infielders – including top prospects Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza.
Volpe is almost certainly either taking over at shortstop or heading back to the minors. Peraza, after an impressive big league debut late last season, needs a position if Volpe indeed becomes the long-awaited heir to Derek Jeter’s crown, and third base could be the spot.
If Donaldson had retired, it would’ve also saved the Yankees $27 million owed to him for 2023. That amount could’ve went a long way towards signing another pitcher or an outfielder to replace light-hitting Aaron Hicks in left field.
Still, Josh Donaldson insists that he’s not just coming back to the New York Yankees for a paycheck, and he’s also adamant that if he didn’t think he could do better than 2022, he would’ve quit.
He told Heyman:
“I would retire, just for the fact that I’ve had a certain quality of production I’m used to. I don’t want to just play to play. I want to play to win. And I want to play to help our team win. And I want to be a contributing force to that.”
New York Yankees may be regretting Josh Donaldson trade
Josh Donaldson was one of MLB’s top offensive forces through the bulk of the 2010s with the Oakland Athletics and Toronto Blue Jays. However, his big bat was already in decline for two seasons with the Minnesota Twins before they dealt him – and his contract – to the New York Yankees in March 2022.
Even if Donaldson drags through 2023 without much improvement on his 2022, Yankees fans can at least be comforted by the fact that their team owns the option on his contract for 2024.