That year, he hit 26 home runs, had an .827 OPS, and played strong defense at third base.
But the Yanks didn’t think the age factor would force a sharp decline so suddenly.
In 2022 with New York, he hit only 15 homers, and his OPS fell off dramatically to .682.
The 2015 American League MVP struck out more than ever before, and the problem became even more evident in the playoffs against elite pitching.
A former star, Donaldson looked overmatched at 37 years old last season.
His manager, Aaron Boone, sees some hope, though.
“‘I think you’re crazy to think that a bounce-back is not in there offensively.’ Aaron Boone discusses why he thinks Josh Donaldson will have a better year this season,” SNY Yankees tweeted.
"I think you're crazy to think that a bounce-back is not in there offensively."
Aaron Boone discusses why he thinks Josh Donaldson will have a better year this season: pic.twitter.com/3QMNs8qDpb
— Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) February 21, 2023
Boone might be right: there could be some sort of bounce-back campaign in Donaldson’s bat.
It’s hard to see him surpassing .800 OPS again, though.
Given his defensive value, the Yankees should be happy if he returns to the .770-.790 OPS range.
That still may not be enough to hold off better alternatives to play third base for the Yankees, though, such as DJ LeMahieu and Oswaldo Cabrera.
The 2023 campaign will probably be Donaldson’s last in pinstripes because he has an expensive option for 2024 that is unlikely to be picked up.
Still, he has the incentive of earning a nice contract if he plays well in 2023.
The Yankees certainly won’t complain if that’s the case.NEXT: The Yankees And Mets Are Tied In Exciting Odds