Josh Donaldson
Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees acquired former MVP Josh Donaldson from the Minnesota Twins.

The New York Yankees kicked off Spring Training with a signature sneaky deal, courtesy of general manager Brian Cashman.

In the deal, catcher Gary Sanchez and third baseman Gio Urshela will go to the Minnesota Twins. The Yankees will receive third baseman Josh Donaldson and shortstop Isaiah Kiner-Falefa. Longtime MLB insider Jon Heyman was first with the news, with ESPN’s Jeff Passan adding further details.

This almost certainly means DJ LeMahieu is the new first baseman, and Luke Voit will be traded fairly shortly.


Donaldson slugged 26 home runs for the Twins last year, and Kiner-Falefa was just acquired from the Texas Rangers over the weekend. As part of the deal, the Yankees also took on all of Donaldson’s remaining salary, about $42 million.

The Yankees also received lefty-hitting catcher Ben Rortvedt in the deal. He played in 39 games for the Twins last year, and Jack Curry of the YES Network said the current plan is to platoon him with Kyle Higashioka.

It truly is the end of an era. Gary Sanchez was once one of the most exciting Yankees players, debuting with fellow Baby Bomber Aaron Judge. He hit 138 home runs since debuting in 2015, but his bat fell off a cliff starting in 2018 and never recovered. He hit just .201 over the last four seasons, struggled with injuries, and struck out way too much.

But on the whole, this balances the lineup. Josh Donaldson still makes great contact with the ball despite his age, and Kiner-Falefa’s contact approach balances out the lineup.

And to Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela, thanks for the memories. We had some great times, but it’s time to move on.

The Yankees are nowhere close to being done making deals, so stay tuned to ESNY for more updates!

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.