The Yankees and Twins have swung a blockbuster deal that will see Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa head to the Bronx, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports (Twitter link). Catcher Ben Rortvedt is also part of the Yankees’ return, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter). Catcher Gary Sanchez and infielder Gio Urshela are going to Minnesota, as per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link).
Donaldson is owed $50MM on his remaining contract, though MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Yankees are fully absorbing the salary. Donaldson has a five-team no-trade clause, though it isn’t known if the Yankees were one of the five clubs on his list, or if he waived his clause to head to New York. The Yankees will pay a $2MM assignment bonus due to the trade, and in being moved, the $16MM club option on Donaldson for 2024 now becomes a mutual option with a $6MM buyout, rather than an $8MM buyout.
This gigantic deal creates a shakeup on the rosters of both clubs, and ends Kiner-Falefa’s Minnesota tenure after just one day. The Twins only acquired Kiner-Falefa from the Rangers for Mitch Garver on Saturday, but now the former Gold Glover has been flipped as much of a much bigger deal that sees the Twins move a major salary off their books. Another flip could be forthcoming, as USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that Minnesota isn’t interested in retaining Sanchez.
After a winter of speculation about how the Yankees would address their infield, the Bronx Bombers have now installed Donaldson as their new everyday third baseman and Kiner-Falefa as their new shortstop. (New York was linked to IKF earlier this winter, so the team has finally landed him even after his brief stopover in Minnesota.) DJ LeMahieu may float between first and second base, sharing time with Gleyber Torres at the keystone and Luke Voit at first base. The DH spot is also a possibility to give at-bats to players, depending on how much outfield time Giancarlo Stanton can handle.