“We appreciate what Gio has done but he’s not Josh Donaldson” - Brian Cashman
A quote that truly haunts me. I won't lie, when the trade first happened, I was scratching my head like most Yankee fans. The money made no sense, the age and regression were a big question mark, but who am I to judge what a multi World Series General Manager does? Donaldson was a former MVP, and that itself is nothing to slouch about. I wasn't sold at the the trade, but I wasn't out, especially after his first game in pinstripes.
Now, less than two seasons later, it turns out all of our instincts were right. Josh Donaldson was a bust. The Yankees have released the veteran as he ramps back up from a 60-day IL stint for a strained right hamstring. Aaron Boone said it gives him the ability to latch onto a potential playoff team, but I am not sure who is jumping at the bit for a guy who was hitting sub-.200 and has a loaded injury history.
At the end of the day, for as many wins that Brian Cashman has collected over his long tenure, there have been more than plenty of losses. In my mind, can you count this as a loss, when I don't think anybody necessarily won, but for one last time - let's revisit the trade...
Let's start with Donaldson. He's numbers were atrocious, to say the least. In 165 games, he slashed a line of .207/.293/.385 with 25 homers. If we are talking numbers, the Yankees acquired his contracts (the final two years for $50 million), in hopes that the three-time All-Star would be an anchor for the third base position.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa was supposed to man the shortstop position, but that was a total failure. Ben Rortvedt was legitamely a made up player, who played maybe 25 games? He hasn't done squat for this team, and I truly don't think anybody would notice if he was gone.
On the flip side, Gio Urshela is now on the Angels, and Gary Sanches has had a few stints elsewhere before landing with the Padres. All in all, this trade was one big fat wash, that ultimately allowed the Twins to dump payroll to land Carlos Correa.
Like I mentioned, did anybody win? I would say no. But did the Yankees come out on top? Again, that's up to the viewers discretion, but no. There were two semi-positives out of this whole deal, the first was being able to move away from Gary Sanchez.
I was a big Gary believer, and always felt when he was on, he was one of the best most raw hitters in all of the league, but there was always the question on "when is he going to turn on". He's offense had major ebs and flows, and the potential of the Kraken was truly unlimited, but his defense was a team killer. He dropped balls, didn't know how to frame, and truly hindered the team's pitching rotation. Moving him brought in Jose Trevino (a separate trade), which resulted in the Yankees new backstop earning Platinum Glove honors and producing a semi-decent bat. Unfortunately, he fell to wrist injury this season, causing a massive void from the position. I also think the addition of IKF was solid... as a utility man. He was never a shortstop, and Cashman traded him to be that position. It was never going to work out. IKF was a gold glove third baseman, not a starting left fielder or a confident shortstop. What I love about IKF was his ability to not take the media to heart, and he was always trying to help the team. Off the bench, solid reliable option. As an everyday starter, absolutely not. But again, it's hard to look at the numbers, especially when Cashman said Gio is no Josh...
As for Cashman's next move, Harrison Bader has been put on waivers (more to come), do the Yankees go full fledge youth movement and bring up Austin Wells or Jasson Dominguez?