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Reds claim Harrison Bader off waivers from Yankees

The elite defender is on his way back to the NL Central.

New York Yankees v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

From the moment that the news broke of Yankees center fielder Harrison Bader being placed on waivers, it was a foregone conclusion that he would not be long for this roster. Even with a 2023 that has seen him scuffle, the man is one of the best center fielders in baseball and could absolutely help any contending team, even as a depth piece.

Now that it’s been a couple days, waiver claims have been announced. Bader is indeed on his way out of town, and he’ll be going back to the division where the Yankees originally acquired him from in 2022. He came to New York via St. Louis, and now he’ll exit the City via Cincinnati, who will assume the rest of his 2023 contract in advance of free agency.

That’s now another free spot on the 40-man roster in advance of Jasson Domínguez and Austin Wells being called up tomorrow. Triple-A pitcher Spencer Howard was released yesterday, vacating another. Look for Domínguez to get plenty of reps in center in Bader’s absence.

It’s a shame that 2023 did not work out for Bader, as the Bronxville native was a tremendous story in the 2022 postseason, when he went off for five homers in just nine playoff games between the ALDS and ALCS. Instead, his overall multi-season slump at the plate continued, sinking to a .240/.278/.365 triple slash with a 76 wRC+ and only 7 homers in 84 games. The Yankees really should have bailed on Bader in exchange for a possible lottery ticket prospect at the Trade Deadline, but they decided to stand pat. Whoops.

Bader is one of the best center fielders we’ve ever seen and always had a fun personality. We wish him the best of luck in the Reds’ playoff push.