TAMPA — Hours after Aaron Boone realized a quiet Yankees offseason could look very different by opening day, the Yankees swung a huge trade Sunday night that reshuffled their roster and ended Gary Sanchez’s time in the Bronx.
And it also brings third baseman Josh Donaldson to the Yankees, where he will be teammates with Gerrit Cole after Donaldson called Cole last June about his use of sticky substances.
The bomb deal sent Sanchez and Gio Urshela to the Twins in exchange for Donaldson, shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and catcher Ben Rortvedt.
The move leaves the Yankees with a drastically changed infield and a new backstop.
Donaldson is owed $50 million for the remainder of his contract — $42 million over the next two seasons with an $8 million buyout in 2025.
Now the Yankees have to deal with Donaldson, who said of Cole last season, “Is it a coincidence that Gerrit Cole’s spin rate numbers have gone down? [Thursday] after four minor leagues were banned for 10 games? Is that possible? I do not know. Maybe. At the same time, they let the boys do their thing in this situation.”
Days later, Cole faced Donaldson and the twins and beat the 2015 AL MVP in his first two at-bats, seemingly staring down Donaldson after the first at-bat.
Afterward, Donaldson said he had no regrets calling out Cole, noting his drop in spin rate after the league began cracking down on the use of illegal foreign substances.
Donaldson, 36, hit 26 home runs with the Twins last season.
With Donaldson in third place, Kiner-Falefa — just traded from Texas to Minnesota on Saturday — will become the Yankees’ new starting shortstop.
The Yankees had been looking for a position upgrade since the end of the failed Gleyber-Torres experiment. Kiner-Falefa’s arrival shows the organization is ready to wait for top contenders Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe.
Peraza is expected to start the season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Volpe with Double-A Somerset. Scouts have hinted that Peraza could be ready for the Majors by the end of this season and Volpe by 2023.
Rortvedt, a left-swinging catcher, is the other piece of the trade. The 24-year-old made his debut last season and has only played 39 games in the majors. He and Kyle Higashioka will share the catching duties.
In the process, the Yankees shed two players who have experienced significant ups and downs in the Bronx, with Sanchez storming onto the scene in 2016 and hitting 20 home runs in just 53 games. He was an All-Star in 2017 and 2019, but he was terrible in 2018 and 2020.
Despite rebounding last season, Sanchez’s defense was suspect.
Urshela was an excellent find for the Yankees, taking third place with a great 2019 season despite being out last season.
And the Yankees may not be done yet.
They didn’t give up prospects in the trade with the Twins and sources said they could still add a first baseman as their interest in Oakland’s Matt Olson is still there. Freddie Freeman and Anthony Rizzo are free agent possibilities.
For now, Luke Voit remains first, Gleyber Torres second, and DJ LeMahieu now in a role where he can move in infield.
It all came after Boone said of the Yankees’ quiet start to the offseason, “Winter isn’t over, so to speak. … And the winner will be chosen at the end of October. It often happens that you can win the offseason – or lose the offseason, whatever the perception. In the end we want to be the last team in October. And I would say the assessment of our off-season and winter is a bit premature.”
He added: “We can win now with what we have.”
That’s no longer an issue.
https://nypost.com/2022/03/13/yankees-trade-urshela-sanchez-to-twins-for-kiner-falefa-donaldson/ Yankees trade Urshela, Sanchez for Twins for Kiner-Falefa, Donaldson