MLB Rumors: Yankees trade could easily replace Josh Donaldson

Josh Donaldson, MLB rumors (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
Josh Donaldson, MLB rumors (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images) /

The New York Yankees could easily replace Josh Donaldson (even though the team believes in him), and there’s one replacement option available. But it could come at a high cost.

Whenever a team loses its top player, struggles are likely to follow. But for the New York Yankees, losing outfielder Aaron Judge has brought to light their biggest flaw — a lack of quality and consistent hitting throughout the batting order. Judge is going to be out for quite some time after revealing that he has a torn ligament in his right big toe after crashing through the outfield fence at Dodger Stadium earlier this month.

This past week, the Yankees did win their series’ against the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners, but the hitting is going to be an issue as long as Judge is out. One player who stood out in Judge’s absence was third baseman Josh Donaldson, who is batting .125 and holds an OPS of .603 entering Tuesday’s game against the Oakland Athletics. While the fanbase has declared that they have seen enough of Donaldson, manager Aaron Boone and general manager Brian Cashman believe that he can break out of it with more playing time. That did cause some groans among fans, but it’s hard to imagine the team not bringing in help at the deadline.

ESPN senior writer Buster Olney wrote an article (subscription required) about the Yankees’ offensive struggles without Judge and the options they can bring in at the deadline. One name that Olney lists that could replace Donaldson at third base is Jeimer Candelario of the Washington Nationals. But, Olney notes that acquiring him won’t come cheap.

MLB rumors: Jeimer Candelario listed as potential Josh Donaldson replacement for Yankees

"“The infielder is having a nice season, with an adjusted OPS+ of 117 and a slash line of .256/.333/.446,” writes Olney. “But he has only played third base this year. ‘He might be a fit if [the Yankees] were ready to give up on Donaldson,’ an evaluator speculated. Donaldson is hitting .143/.222/.464 in 18 games this season. Considering how thin the market is for position players, however, Washington GM Mike Rizzo might be inclined to set a high price tag for Candelario. ‘Then you’d wonder: Would he be worth that?’ an exec asked. ‘Is he a difference-maker?’"

Candelario joined the Nationals this season after spending time with the Detroit Tigers from 2017 until the end of the 2022 campaign. With the Nationals, they are still in the midst of their rebuild after trading away the likes of Max Scherzer, Trea Turner, Juan Soto, and Josh Bell over the years. So, getting as much young talent as possible to help accelerate the process is pivotal for the Nationals.

As Olney notes, general manager Mike Rizzo could have a high asking price. That’s understandable, especially if they receive plenty of interest from teams regarding a particular player of theirs. The real question that remains is how willing Cashman is to part ways from prospects, which he did a lot at last year’s deadline.

Entering Tuesday, Candelario recorded a .260 batting average, a .335 on-base percentage, a .466 slugging percentage, 10 home runs, 36 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 73 hits in 74 games played (281 at-bats).

As of now, the Yankees are still adamant that Donaldson can turn things around, get out of his slump, and be a huge contributor to the offense. But if they decide to look for an outside option, Candelario could be an option.

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