It started with great fanfare, had plenty of ups (and quite a few downs), but Gary Sanchez’s New York era ended on Sunday when the Yankees traded their two-time All-Star catcher for the Minnesota Twins.
In the deal, announced by both teams, the Yankees sent Sanchez and quarterback Gio Urcella to Minnesota for third baseman Josh Donaldson, shortstop Izia Keener-Valiva and catcher Ben Roertvedt.
With Sanchez, 29, the promise of his early time in striped stripes has become a somewhat distant memory. He’s reached .283 on a percentage basis and 53 players in his first 177 games for the team, but he’s only reached .201 over the past four seasons, and bottomed with an average of .147 in the pandemic’s abridged 2020 season. . He’s also struggled with passing balls behind the board for most of his career.
The deal significantly reshapes the left side of the Yankees Stadium, with 2015 MLS Player of the Year Donaldson taking third and defensive Kenner Valiva taking over at short notice.
Donaldson, 36, has slowed down from some defensively over the past few years, but had a solid offensive season in 2021, hitting .247 by 0.32 on a percentage basis and 26 home runs. Kiner-Falefa, who turns 27 later this month, is a dramatic defense upgrade over other Yankees options and has had time as the catcher, second base, short base and third base in his career. He only has 0.316 careers on a percentage basis, but he makes a solid connection and has the speed to steal the bases.
Rortvedt, 24, was first called up in 2021 and struggled with the lead. He is a .241 minors career hitter and was a second-round pick in 2016.
While Kiner-Falefa and Rortvedt are low-cost options, Donaldson owes $43.5 million over the next two seasons and has a $16 million team option in 2024 with an $8 million buyout deal. He also has some history with Gerrit Cole after that Ace Yankees accused of rigging baseballs to enhance its performance.
Urshela, 30 years old Exceeded all expectations In New York, he hit .292 with 41 home runs over the course of three seasons while providing an at times astonishing defense at third base.
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