Yankees acquire Donaldson, Kiner-Falefa, and Rortvedt from Twins for Sánchez and Urshela

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It’s official: the Yankees have acquired Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Ben Rortvedt from the Twins in exchange Gary Sánchez and Gio Urshela. A stunner, to put it lightly. It’s a move that feels like it must precede a couple of other transactions that remain to be seen.

The deal crosses off one task from the offseason to do list: get a shortstop. No, it’s not the one any of us wanted in Carlos Correa or Trevor Story. Kiner-Falefa is the stopgap shortstop until one of Oswald Peraza or Anthony Volpe are ready.

Additionally, as odd of a fit as it seems, Donaldson does offer a boost to the offense, which the team certainly needed after last year. How he’ll get along with Gerrit Cole remains to be seen. There are concerns about Donaldson’s age (36) and health, too.

I’m sure many fans are rejoicing now that Sánchez is out of the picture, but the grass isn’t always greener. A tandem of Kyle Higashioka and Rortvedt is not good. This is where, perhaps, the Yankees have something else up their sleeves.

Even with shortstop addressed, this deal didn’t necessarily fix the infield logjam. Moving Urshela seemed like a possibility to push DJ LeMahieu to third and give Gleyber Torres the keystone, alas, that’s not actually the case. Now, the Yankees need to figure out how to settle the right side of the infield, with LeMahieu, Torres, and Luke Voit still around.

We’ll have more to come on this deal in the coming days.


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  1. Mark12211

    They are trading Donaldson right? It was just a 4 team trade that couldn’t worked out right away? Right? $49m for an injury prone 36 year old seems silly. This is not Raul Inbanez making $1m per year. At least Raul was left handed.

  2. The Original Drew

    I am usually a stick with your team through the tough times kind of guy, but if this is how the Yankees are going to proceed forward in the twilight years of the 2016/2017’s core, I wouldn’t blame anyone for tuning out or straight up walking away from the team.

    This is like my Joker origin story of becoming a Mets fan.

  3. Contra

    As good as Cole is, I can’t help but wonder if the inability to work with Gary is the reason he got shipped out.

    I hope Gary has a monster year and shuts the haters up. The lazy trope always hung on Latino players is tired, especially on a guy who did everything the club asked him to do with all the changes they asked for him with his defense.

    Dude was a huge fave and hate to see him go. This sucks.

  4. Tim Loceddardstro

    Yesterday was the greatest day of my life, Derek. This big trade was the equivalent of ordering a delicious extra large Papa John’s pizza pie. And adding Tim Locastro was the garlic butter on top. FIrst we realized our mistake letting Locastro go and rectified that with a big pick up to bolster our outfield. And then we rectified a decade long mistake in Gary Sanchez. We’ve been saying Gary’s gotta go for years and he’s finally gone. Ding dong the fat lazy witch is dead. Don’t say Cash never made any moves because this is a big one. I’m not a big fan of Donaldson and I hope we turn around and trade him somewhere else but even if he sits on the bench and collects cobwebs he’s an upgrade over Gary. But maybe he’ll keep that baby Cole in line. And Higgy is ready to start and has been ready. Kiner can hit for average which is desperately needed in this lineup and he’s a great glove. And they can work with him to develop his power like they did with Gio. It does hurt to lose Gio because he was a good ballplayer but it looked like they just caught lightning in a bottle that one year and he will decline. And even if he does have a good year this year nobody will care because he’s in purgatory now. And fat Gary will be right at home in the midwest where he can get all the Golden Corral and Krispy Kremes his gut desires. And nobody there will care if he hits .180 because nobody is at the games. It’s a win win for both sides. I think it means a big FA signing is coming soon, possibly Freeman, and Voit will be dealt. Trading Gio opens up 3B for DJ and 2B for Gleyber. The pieces are finally starting to fall into place.

  5. It’s time to trade Torres, Voit and prospects (Peraza plus a pitcher?) for Matt Olson-the A’s just traded an All Star starting pitcher to the Mets for a couple of prospects so maybe the package doesn’t have to be as rich as that.

    Having Olson at 1st, LeMathieu at 2nd, and Kiner-Falefa at SS (until Volpe is ready) is excellent defensively and balanced offensively.

    They still need a starting catcher and I would guess they are already working on that…

  6. DZB

    I hate everything about this trade. I don’t like Donaldson, I think picking up the backend of his already bad contract is a bad decision, I don’t think he will do well in the clubhouse (especially with Cole), and I don’t think he will stay healthy. I would also be much more excited to watch Gary and once again hope for him to get back to hitting dingers. I also simply don’t like what this represents for Yankees baseball. I agree with the comment Mike Axisa made about the trade, where he was commenting on this being a prelude to a bad ending for the Yankees, noting that it would be a fitting end to “…Yankees baseball that’s become less enjoyable by the year”

  7. Wire Fan

    So… Addresses SS short term (check).

    3rd base? If you believe Gio’s 2021 decline was real, this is a significant upgrade, but with another major injury risk. Though DJL can address that. Yankees infield is set unless they want to trade Voit and go after Olsen or Freeman (seems unlikely)

    Catcher? I’m not the biggest Sanchez fan but this is a major C downgrade barring another move coming.

    Yankees still need a 4th OF (Gardy?), probably a catcher and maybe some pitching.

  8. Steve

    With Gary gone, who are the fans going to irrationally hate? My guess is Gleyber (if he’s not gone) or Hicks become the annual lightning rod.

  9. Don’t trade Voit. Love him, respect him ,and he will hit so many balls to right field you’d think he was a left handed hitter. He will get tons of walks, hit 30 home runs without trying. Love him encourage him to hit 300. His new training will help him as a fielder. Reporters really don’t know human factor and they are vs Voit yet he is the best out there . The money saved will give to get other needs.. I hope Brian Cashman reads what I am saying . You don’t want this guy to mash for an opposing team.

  10. Keep Luke Voit. F- Kiner is a lefty. Give him support and he will give back so many right field hits you’d think he was a left handed batter. Don’t let this guy go to someone else. The Yankees will regret listening to reporters who don’t know the human factor. Voit will get tons of walk, hit 30+ home runs without trying . Love him and he will give back. He will improve as a first basemen. His new training will keep him on the field. I hope Brian Cashman reads this.

    • Matt Phillips

      IKF isn’t a lefty. Which is why they need to trade Voit, and get a lefty 1B.

      • chip56

        They can keep Voit. Say you sign Rizzo or Schwarber for 1b, Voit backs up there and at DH while DJ gets time at 2b and 3b.

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