Yankees waive Harrison Bader, per source: Is New York making room for Jasson Domínguez, Austin Wells? TipTechBlog


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Yankees waive Harrison Bader, per source: Is New York making room for Jasson Domínguez, Austin Wells? TipTechBlog

The New York Yankees placed center fielder Harrison Bader on waivers Tuesday, a team source confirmed to The Athletic. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Bader, 29, is in the final year of a two-year, $10.4 million contract and will become a free agent this offseason.
  • He’s hitting .242/.279/.370 in 82 games this season for the Yankees.
  • Since July 4, Bader’s 54 wRC+ ranks as the fourth-worst across MLB for all qualified hitters.
  • If a team claims Bader before midnight on Aug. 31, he will become postseason-eligible for his new team. The Yankees will save just under $1 million if Bader is claimed by another ballclub.

The Athletic’s instant analysis:

Why the Yankees waived Bader

With the Yankees’ youth movement in full swing, and with Bader set to become a free agent after the season, he was no longer a necessity. Sure, he’s an excellent outfield defender, but his bat is suspect at best (73 OPS+ since joining the Yankees). They’re not committed to the Bronxville, N.Y., native, and it allows the Yankees to spread his at-bats around.

Of course, perhaps the Yankees are now kicking themselves for not trading Bader at the deadline and attempting to continue to make a run at the playoffs despite the odds seemingly stacked so high against them. It allows for reflection on the Yankees’ move to acquire Bader at the 2022 deadline, another deal that appears to have been a negative.

At the time, the Yankees traded away reliable lefty starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery to St. Louis in exchange for Bader, acknowledging he’d miss a month with plantar fasciitis before they would be able to access his athleticism and speed. Bader delivered on defense, had a spectacular power run in the playoffs last year, and gave the Yankees a starting center fielder for the 2023 season. But ultimately, Montgomery has appeared to provide better value. As the Yankees have struggled with injuries and inconsistencies in their rotation, Montgomery pitched to a 3.11 ERA in 11 starts with the Cardinals this year before putting up a 3.19 ERA in 26 starts between St. Louis and the Rangers this season. — Kuty

Yankees primed to add top prospects in coming days

The Yankees’ 40-man roster currently stands at 38, with Bader and Josh Donaldson’s departures from the organization. That has now opened the door for the Yankees to call up both catcher Austin Wells and outfielder Jasson Domínguez for the final month of the season. The team has had internal discussions about promoting both Wells and Domínguez before the end of the 2023 season, multiple team sources told The Athletic.

The Yankees are fully committed to a youth movement for the rest of the season because the playoffs are too far out of reach. With the Yankees moving on from Bader, there’s now an opening for an everyday center fielder, which means the team could get a look at Domínguez, 20, to see if he’s ready to possibly make the 2024 Opening Day roster. Yankees manager Aaron Boone was asked this past weekend in Tampa about the possibility of Domínguez making his major-league debut at some point this season. Boone didn’t rule it out and said he believes Domínguez has the chance to be an impact player.

“I’m in the camp that I think he’s going to be a really good player in this league,” Boone said. “I think he’s a really special talent. After getting off to a little bit of a slow start this year in Double A, he’s really played well over the last few months. He obviously impacts the ball and is athletic and can run. I like the fact that at a really young age, he’s really controlling the strike zone. Hopefully … when he does get up here, that can be something that serves him well.”

Going into Tuesday, Domínguez was 11-for-23 with 10 RBIs and just two strikeouts in 27 plate appearances across seven games with Triple-A Scranton. — Kirschner

Required reading

(Photo: Brad Penner / USA Today)

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