Former AL MVP Josh Donaldson released by Yankees after playing just 33 games this year

DETROIT (AP) — Third baseman Josh Donaldson's unproductive two seasons with the New York Yankees ended Tuesday when the former AL MVP was released.

A player must be in an organization by midnight EDT Thursday to be eligible for postseason play with that team. Donaldson would not have to finish the remainder of his stint on the 60-day injured list and immediately could be active with another club, which would pay him only a prorated share of the $720,000 minimum.

The 37-year-old hit .207 with 25 homers and 77 RBIs over 165 games in two seasons since he was acquired from Minnesota in March 2022 along with infielder/outfielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa and catcher Ben Rortvedt for catcher Gary Sánchez and infielder Gio Urshela.

“Coming out of the lockout, I think might have been a little bit behind physically last year, and then he had some struggles,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Tuesday. “Felt like he came in a really good place this spring and then got hurt pretty early on, and then came back and obviously was hitting long balls.”

Donaldson hit .142 with 15 RBIs this year, playing in just 33 games. Ten of his 15 hits were home runs. In his first season with the Yankees, he batted .222 with 15 homers and 62 RBIs.

The three-time All-Star was on the IL from April 5 to June 2 because of a strained right hamstring, then went back on the IL on July 16 with a strained right calf sustained while running out a grounder. He was moved four days later to the 60-day IL.

“I think we’re just at a point where, with him having to go through a rehab assignment and then being back in the middle of the month, there weren’t going to be opportunities," Boone said. “We wanted to give him the option or the possibility of catching on with someone.”

New York is responsible for the $3,838,710 Donaldson is owed from a $21 million salary in the final guaranteed season of a $92 million, four-year contract he signed with Minnesota. New York also owes a $6 million buyout attached to a $24 million mutual option for 2024.