The Twins have had a busy couple days. First they traded for Kiner-Falefa from the Rangers. I understood that one—he’s good with the glove and on the base path; he was worth 3.7 WAR last year. Then they obtained Sonny Gray from the Reds in exchange for a well-regarded pitching prospect. Gray is a solid starter, so the move made sense in terms of winning now. The Twins’ front office has stated they wanted a quick return to contention after last year’s disappointing last place finish.
However…then came the surprise trade of Kiner-Falefa, Ben Rortvedt, and Josh Donaldson to the Yankees for Gio Urshela and Gary Sanchez. For the life of me, I can’t understand why the Twins would make this deal. Was this a salary dump since Donaldson will make $36M this year? If the Twins really want to win now, though, why dump salary and give up a good power hitter in the process? That makes sense only if they are able to get someone younger/better via another trade or free agency. Urshela is good as a utility backup, but Kiner-Falefa is a legit infield starter. In the trade to get Kiner-Falefa, the Twins gave up Mitch Garver (2.1 WAR last year, 139 OPS+). Perhaps one of their young guys is ready to be the main man behind the plate? …Then they trade a young guy to the Yankees…for Gary Sanchez, and New York fans erupt in cheers. Rortvedt struggled with the bat last year, granted, but he was a rookie, and his major league at bats still amount to a small sample size. However, Sanchez has been a below average hitter three of the last four years. He also isn’t great behind the plate. Put another way, using 2021 stats, the Twins sent the Yankees 6.8 WAR and got back 1.3 and no prospects. I don’t like this trade for the Twins at all.