Yankees trade Gary Sanchez in blockbuster move for Josh Donaldson, others

Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees

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The New York Yankees have pulled off a blockbuster trade with the Minnesota Twins to get them Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

For New York Yankees fans waiting for general manager Brian Cashman to make a big move in the offseason, well, you got your wish.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Yankees have pulled off a trade with the Minnesota Twins to acquire third baseman Josh Donaldson, shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and catcher Ben Rortvedt. Kiner-Falefa was recently brought to Minnesota in a trade with the Texas Rangers.

As for who is heading from New York to Minnesota, the Yankees are sending catcher Gary Sanchez and third baseman Gio Urshela. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman was first to report that Sanchez was heading to the Twins.

Yankees pull off blockbuster trade with Twins for Josh Donaldson, others

Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the Yankees will be taking on the remaining two-years and $50 million on Donaldson’s contract.

Donaldson will effectively fill in for Urshela at third base and bring another right-handed power bat into the hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium. This past season, Donaldson slashed .247/.352/.475 while recording 26 home runs, 72 RBI, 73 runs and 113 hits.

The Yankees were in need of a shortstop option this offseason, but the team stood pat as top options like Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Javier Baez signed elsewhere. The team does have two well-regarded shortstop prospects in Anthony Volpe (No. 15 in MLB in 2021) and Oswald Peraza (No. 58). They now have a shortstop in Kiner-Falefa, who is under contract through the 2023 season.

Kiner-Falefa recorded a .271 batting average, a .670 OPS, eight home runs, 53 RBI, 74 runs and 172 hits through 158 games. Defensively at shortstop, Kiner-Falefa recorded a .972 fielding percentage (214 putouts, 436 assists, 19 errors).

Rortvedt is a 2016 second-round draft pick by the Twins and made his major league debut with the team this past season. Through 39 games, Rortvedt batted .169 and had an OPS of .510 while posting three home runs, seven RBI and 15 hits. He will likely split time with Kyle Higashioka behind the plate.

Urshela will fill in at third base where Donaldson played for the past two seasons. Ironically, earlier in the day, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said that Urshela was the team’s shortstop as of him speaking. That has obviously changed.

In 2021, Urshela slashed .267/.301/.419 while recording 14 home runs, 49 RBI and 112 hits.

As for Sanchez, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that he will not be moved by the Twins and will share time with Ryan Jeffers. Sanchez has a power bat, but accumulated a lot of strikeouts over the years. That, and his defense behind home plate has been a problem throughout his career.

Sanchez recorded a .204 batting average, a .423 slugging percentage, 23 home runs, 54 RBI and 121 strikeouts in 117 games this past season. Behind home plate, Sanchez allowed eight passed balls, bringing his career total to 60 over six seasons, per Baseball Reference.

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