Josh Donaldson announces retirement, looks back on Yankees tenure: 'I just wish I could have played better'

Third baseman Josh Donaldson, who spent parts of two seasons with the Yankees in 2022-23, has announced his retirement from the game of baseball.

“There was a time at the end of the season when I felt really good about where I was at and I was going to try to give it one more go, but being home with the family, getting married, today is a sad but also a happy day for me where I am going to announce my retirement from the game I’ve dedicated my entire life around, and my family has,” Donaldson told former Yankees hitting coach Sean Casey on his Mayor’s Office podcast.

"It’s sad because I’ll be not able to go out there and play the game that I love anymore, but it’s also a very happy time that I get to be around my family and kind of take that next chapter in life.”

He added: “I just felt like it had to be a perfect situation for me to go back and play. There were a couple of opportunities out there, but at the end of the day, things really weren’t clicking and meshing for myself to be ready and go into a season mentally and physically ready to play. … I feel very blessed to have played as long as I got to play.”

A three-time All-Star and the 2015 AL MVP with Toronto, Donaldson was acquired by the Yankees in a March 2022 trade that brought him and Isiah Kiner-Falefa to New York while sending Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela to the Minnesota Twins.

“I was kind of surprised, first off, that they traded for me in the first place,” Donaldson told Casey. “Whatever had happened, I had never seen myself in a pinstripe uni. Like there were a lot of guys who were like ‘I want to be a Yankee’ and it’s a great thing, a lot of great players have been a New York Yankee, so it took me a minute to kind of get used to wearing pinstripes and seeing myself in that uniform.”

The hope was that Donaldson could bring some power and an edge to the Yankees’ lineup, but his time in the Bronx was instead marred by inconsistent play and injuries. Donaldson slashed .207/.293/.385 with 25 homers and 77 RBI in 165 games as a Yankee.

The Yankees ended up releasing Donaldson on Aug. 29, and he played the remainder of the season with the Milwaukee Brewers.

"Trying to get acclimated to the environment there, to the team – my teammates were awesome. I enjoyed all of my teammates. I feel, I guess, somewhat that the last two years of my career were tough for me for the fact that I didn’t go out there and play well, like up to my standards. It wasn’t for a lack of not trying," Donaldson said. "I was in there working … it’s just tough. It’s tough to play in New York, especially when you’re not winning, and it’s especially tough when you’re not playing well. But you know as a player, you know what you’re getting into, and I think it’s a double-edged sword at the end of the day. You can’t look at it too hard, but you know that it’s there.

"For me personally, I just wish I could have played better [during] my time there. I felt like I was capable of doing it, I just didn’t go do it."

In total, Donaldson played 13 seasons in the big leagues with Oakland, Toronto, Cleveland, Atlanta, Minnesota, New York, and Milwaukee. He finished his career with an .847 OPS, launching 279 home runs to go along with 816 RBI.