March 14, 2022

Suddenly urgent Twins get Sanchez, Urshela from Yankees on busy Sunday

The Twins have wasted no time in making key additions to the 2022 roster, adding a pitcher and infielder days after baseball’s lockout came to an end with a new collective bargaining agreement announced on March 10.

That was still true as of Sunday afternoon, but then the Twins blew part of it up, sending the very recently acquired Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Bringer of Rain Josh Donaldson and backup catcher Ben Rortvedt to the New York Yankees for catcher Gary Sanchez and infielder Gio Urshela, two acquisitions that appear to be upgrades for the club. The Yankees are also going to eat the $50 million still owed on Donaldson’s contract, according to MLB Trade Rumors.

The Twins parted ways with starting catcher Mitch Garver to get Kiner-Falefa from the Texas Rangers, but instead of Ryan Jeffers moving up to the No. 1 slot, he likely retains a backup role to Sanchez.

And instead of the light-hitting Kiner-Falefa, the Twins get some genuine power in Sanchez and Urshela.

Sanchez has struggled to hit for average, but has had no problem driving the ball out of the ballpark, averaging around 23 home runs per season over largely six seasons. Urshela, too, has shown some pop. In 2019, he hit .314/.355/.534 with 21 home runs.

Prior to that deal the Twins had sent first-round draft pick and pitching prospect Chase Petty to the Cincinnati Reds to get nine-year pitching veteran Sonny Gray.

At first glance, this seemed like a sweet deal for the Twins — and I think on balance it still leans in their direction — but a second glance at Petty reveals he was the 26th overall pick in the 2021 amateur draft. He also was viewed as the Twins’ No. 7 prospect and a pitcher who apparently could touch 100 miles per hour on the radar gun.

Still, Gray is a proven commodity. He is 82-72 with a 3.61 ERA over those nine seasons, and although he was 7-9 with a 4.19 ERA last season, he still stuck out 155 over 135-plus innings, giving him a strikeout rate per nine innings of 10.3. He’s also a two-time all-star and finished third in the Cy Young vote in 2015 when he pitched for the Oakland A’s.

And the Twins might be far from done.

Late Sunday, rumors were swirling that the Twins were connected to potential deals for the Colorado Rockies’ Trevor Story and Houston’s Carlos Correa. Other names that have come up: pitchers Johnny Cueto, Zack Greinke and ex-Twin Michael Pineda. Pineda was 22-13 with a 3.80 for the Twins, 2019-2021.

Or maybe Sanchez and Urshela are gone by Monday? Stay tuned.

Extra innings…

-Some Twins Territory reaction to Sunday’s fun day.


Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.