The New York Yankees have acquired former-MVP third baseman Josh Donaldson, along with shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and catcher Ben Ben Rortvedt in a trade with the Twins that will send catcher Gary Sanchez and infielder Gio Urshela to Minnesota.
The 3-for-2 deal gives the Yankees an upgrade at infield with Donaldson, who boasts a career .269 batting average, along with a solid .367 on base percentage. The 36-year-old played his best season in 2015 while playing for the Toronto Blue Jays, when he was awarded the American League Most Valuable Player award while recording a .297 batting average, along with 41 home runs and 123 RBIs.
Rortvedt also adds a young piece to the Yankees lineup. The catcher played just 39 games in his MLB rookie season, and secured a .169 batting average, while getting on base .229% of the time in 98 plate appearances.
Kiner-Falefa, meanwhile, has had a whirlwind few days — as the 26-year-old Hawaii native was traded from the Texas Rangers to the Minnesota Twins on Saturday, before being sent to the Bronx just 24 hours later.
The shortstop has played 4 seasons in the major leagues, with a career .265 batting average, a .316 on base percentage, and a .354 slugging percentage.
The Yankees lose Sanchez, their veteran catcher — but the team clearly believes the upgrade to Rortvedt, along with the added presence of Donaldson and Kiner-Falefa is worth dealing Sanchez.
Despite some speculation to the contrary, the Twins plan to keep Sanchez, rather than deal him to another franchise this offseason, while using him as a designated hitter and backup catcher, according to the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
The trade is among the first big splashes the Yankees have made since the MLB lockout came to an end, and questions remain about whether the team is finished with their potential roster moves.
The team had been linked to free agent shortstop Carlos Correa, who is looking for a new club after his contract expired with the Houston Astros — though it’s not yet clear whether the trade for two infielders will change the calculus on any potential move in that arena.