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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Why Josh Donaldson Might Be The One [expletive] yankees need

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Josh Donaldson stretches with bat and glasses

TAMPA — The way I approached a Yankees influencer on Monday was probably unfair to joseph donaldson, who was really charming in his first press conference with the team. But the source got my point.

“Is it oversimplifying,” I said, “to say that this team has had the same basic core for several years and could use an as—– to shake things up?”

“No,” the source said, surprising me (sources generally balk at our easy narratives). “I don’t think that’s oversimplifying it.”

The Yankees have been a terrific team since 2017. But whatever burst of hope greeted the arrival of the Baby Bombers from that era has faded.

It has long been obvious that aaron judge, gary sanchez, Greg Bird, Miguel Andujar, Clint Frazier and Gleyber Torres It wouldn’t be the exact mix of players to lead the Yankees into their next championship era.

Of that group, only Judge, and probably Torres, has proven to be a goalie. It’s normal to see attrition among a group of prospects, but what seemed to settle into the team throughout 2020 and 2021 was more concerning: stagnation.

The Yankees made the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, but endured long stretches of bad baseball. Whatever the core had evolved into, it now felt, if not complacent, then at least uninspired.

There were times when it seemed like the inability to reach a World Series weighed on the Yanks, creating a heaviness in the group. I can’t prove it, and the club’s leadership has downplayed it. But it certainly seemed like the Yanks were playing a less light-hearted version of baseball with each passing year.

Judge has restored his health and superstar status, but he’s placid by nature, and his authentic self isn’t the leader the face of a franchise is expected to be. Giancarlo Stanton he is possessed of seriousness and maturity, but is also not particularly vocal. Gerrit Cabbage he’s a starting pitcher.

Manager Aaron Boone exhibits a special level of empathy and tougher love than the public sees. It’s created a positive, even loving culture, but one that could also use a kid in the back of the classroom shooting spitballs at the teacher and putting a cushion on their chair. A person intense and disruptive enough to ensure a healthy level of discomfort.

A person who is, as Donaldson described himself Monday, “relentless.”

Last summer, when the Mets were close to a trade for Donaldson, the front office consulted with some of his former teammates.

They came out with this scouting report, according to one source: Donaldson was brutally honest, sometimes to the extreme. He wasn’t afraid to call out teammates who deserved it. He once came close to coming to blows with a teammate, and that guy wanted to play Donaldson again.

As one Yankees source put it: “I hear he has strong opinions and competes hard.”

Donaldson’s arrival sent an immediate jolt to Yankeeland. Monday’s topic was his comments from last summer about Cole and the so-called “sticky stuff.”

At the time, Donaldson irritated Cole and his teammates. The two spoke Monday at Boone’s office and declared that all was clear. brian cashman he referenced how the Yankees’ clubhouse had once “hated” Roger Clemens and an opponent, then loved him as a teammate.

A reporter later referenced Cashman’s comment to Donaldson.

“Well, I don’t think there are many guys in there who hate me,” he said with a hint of a smile, applying verbal cursive to the offending word. “That would be an unfair comment you are making.”

“I’m not telling you,” the reporter said.

“Well, you’re implying that,” Donaldson.

“Don’t infer that, because I didn’t imply it,” the reporter said.

“Well, that’s how I interpreted what you said,” Donaldson said.

“Okay,” the reporter said.

The exchange was more fun than awkward. He also sent a signal that if we at the Yankee got past the worded questions Donaldson didn’t like, he would challenge us. He wouldn’t let us get too comfortable.

Is a similar upset what the Yankees themselves need?

After watching them play for the last two years, I thought so. And on Monday I learned that there were some in the clubhouse who agreed.

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