New York Yankees outfielder Harrison Bader was eating lunch at Yankee Stadium when he saw his name on TV.
The team had placed him on waivers.
“Guess it popped up somehow over there, so that’s how I found out,” Bader told the YES Network.
Bader wasn’t aware the Yankees were essentially releasing him, allowing another team to scoop him up off waivers if they wanted to.
The Yankees’ 2023 campaign hasn’t gone at all the way they wanted it to, going from AL East defending champs to the bottom of the division and all but mathematically eliminated from postseason contention. GM Brian Cashman called it a “disaster.”
But for Bader to learn of his fate on TV rather than getting a call from Cashman or manager Aaron Boone isn’t a good look for the storied MLB franchise.
Before heading to Cincinnati, Bader reflected on his time with the Yankees, a team he grew up not too far from in Bronxville, New York.
“Regardless of what happened or may happen, just getting the opportunity to play in this uniform – and I still hopefully do get the opportunity to play in this uniform – just everything that’s happened has just been an absolute blessing, an absolute gift. … I’m a New York City kid and I never in a million years thought I’d play in the big leagues, let alone for the New York Yankees,” Bader said.
Unfortunately for Bader, his time in pinstripes is over for now. He was claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday.
The 29-year-old was traded for by the Yankees last season as they looked to shore up their outfield heading into the postseason. Bader, coming from the St. Louis Cardinals, was dealing with a foot injury. But once he got into the lineup, it paid dividends for New York.
He quickly became a fan favorite with his clutch postseason hitting that included five home runs between the ALDS matchup with the Cleveland Guardians and ALCS against the Houston Astros.
However, the 2023 season hasn’t been great injury-wise for the speedy outfielder, as has been the case for numerous Yankees on the roster. Bader has played just 84 games this season, slashing. 240/.278/.365 with a .643 OPS, seven homers and 37 RBI over 288 at-bats.
Bader now joins a Reds team that is trying to catch up to the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central, sitting six games back of the lead at 69-66.
They are, however, just one game out of the third and final wild-card spot in the National League.
Perhaps Bader’s postseason heroics could come into play if Cincy can get through to October baseball.