According to GM Brian Cashman’s post-trade assessment, it seems like the front office might’ve seen through the flash and sided with the advanced statistics (as they typically do).
Late Sunday night, Cashman made his first major move of the offseason, severing the cord with catcher Gary Sánchez and attaching Urshela in a Twins trade that brought Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Ben Rortvedt to New York.
Cashman spoke about the deal at camp on Monday, seated a few feet away from where Donaldson was taking his first swings in pinstripes, still feeling for the phantom facial hair he’d just discarded.
It would’ve been reasonable to expect Cashman to wax poetic about the defensive prowess and offensive intensity of the two major pieces he’d just acquired, but we didn’t expect him to get quite so down and dirty regarding the players he’d just shipped out.
Behold, Blunt Cash:
Yankees GM Brian Cashman thinks Josh Donaldson is a defensive upgrade on Gio Urshela
According to Cashman, the Yankees didn’t accept even one downgrade with the package they got back. Conversely, they upgraded across the board — defensively at catcher, short and third, as well as offensively at the hot corner.
Add in the fact that it’s impossible not to upgrade offensively on an empty hole at short, and you’ve got Cash dismissing his old assets in favor of a win-win-win-win trade.
According to OAA, Urshela plateaued last season, falling apart with a -5 mark at third base. Combine that with his blued-out offensive metrics (42nd percentile average exit velocity, 22nd percentile xWOBA) and you’ve got a player whose profile doesn’t quite look the same as it once did.
In essence, if the offense isn’t far above average, then the defensive deficiencies start to redefine the narrative. Suddenly, we’re a long way from this.
There’s no kind way to say this, but we expected Urshela’s honeymoon to be a lot longer based on his 2019 production/redemption and 2020 postseason arc.
Unfortunately, this is the way the cookie crumbled: dismissed as a defensive liability akin to Gary Sánchez, a far more obvious problem. Brutal.