Yankees-Twins trade: Gary Sánchez to Minnesota and Josh Donaldson to New York in five-player swap

The Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees have agreed to a significant multi-player trade that involves two All-Stars. Both teams have announced the deal as official. Here it is:

Twins get:

Yankees get:

This is a big one. Urshela has been the Yankees’ starting third baseman for most of the last three seasons when healthy. Sánchez looked like a future superstar as a rookie in 2016 and was an All-Star in 2017, then again in 2019, but has not become the monster many thought he would be at the plate.

The biggest name here is Donaldson. The three-time All-Star won the 2015 AL MVP and has two other top-five finishes in MVP voting. He hit .247/.352/.475 (127 OPS+) with 26 doubles, 26 homers, 72 RBI, 73 runs and 3.2 WAR in 135 games for the Twins last season. He’s been hampered some by injuries the last several years and won’t hit for a high average again, but he’s still an imposing middle-order power hitter. He could hit between Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton or immediately after both.

Donaldson is still owed $50 million through 2023 and the Yankees are taking all of it on, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

The inclusion of Kiner-Falefa likely means the Yankees are going to shift Gleyber Torres back to second — where he should be — and DJ LeMahieu to first base, though there’s room to move guys around on a regular basis with LaMahieu’s ability to handle several infield spots. Luke Voit is in the picture for first base and DH at-bats, while Stanton obviously fills the DH spot a good amount of the time.

The Yankees are still looking for a left-handed swinging first baseman, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reportsnaming Freddie Freeman (free agent), Anthony Rizzo (free agent) and Matt Olson (would have to be via a trade with the A’s) are possibilities.

Rortvedt, 24, hit .169/.229/.281 in 98 plate appearances for the Twins last season. He appears to be slotted, at least for the time being, as the Yankees’ backup catcher. With the trade of Sanchez, Kyle Higashioka moves into the starting catcher role in the Bronx.

On the Twins’ end, Sánchez immediately moves into the starting catching role, which had been filled on a part-time basis by Mitch Garver the last three seasons. He was traded to the Rangers in the deal that got the Twins Kiner-Falefa.

Sanchez, 29, hit .204/.307/.423 with 23 homers and 54 RBI in 440 plate appearances last season. He’s capable of a 40-homer season if he ever got everything going at once. Maybe the change of scenery will unlock something. Of note: His defensive metrics are pretty subpar.

Urshela, 30, hit .267/.301/.419 (96 OPS+) with 14 homers and 49 RBI last season. In 2019-20 with the Yankees, Urshela slashed a combined .310/.359/.523 (134 OPS+), so the Twins will be hoping they get that version.

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