The New York Yankees underwent a seismic roster shift on Sunday night, trading Gary Sánchez and Gio Urshela for the final two years of Josh Donaldson’s contract, alongside Isiah Kiner-Falefa and catcher Ben Rortvedt.
Now 36 years old, Donaldson will be joining New York’s locker room at the hefty cost of $50 million over two years (including buyout money to void his 2024 option). Equally importantly, he’ll be headed to the Bombers with a head of steam, coming off a 2021 season where his hatred for the Yankees was very obvious.
We get it. Donaldson has always played with an edge dating back to his Blue Jays days, and we’re excited to see him sneer at opposing pitchers for as many games as he’s healthy. But joining the Yankees, of all teams, will certainly be a hurdle — even if the rumors that he meant to include them on his no-trade list but forgot to submit it during the lockout aren’t true.
And you all tried to convince us Carlos Correa was too big a chemistry risk. Really.
Donaldson’s vitriol towards Cole was well-documented in 2021 (and, believe us, we’ll get into it), but it’s also worth noting that his antipathy towards the team seems to go even further.
Unprompted after the season, Donaldson defended the Astros by attacking the Red Sox and Yankees, calling their Apple Watch allegations akin to Houston’s 2017 trash can scandal.
Hating the Sox? He’ll do well here. Accusing the Yanks of cheating to the same extent as Jose Altuve? Eh…
Josh Donaldson’s history of hating Yankees and Gerrit Cole
And now, let’s pivot to Spider Tack.
The Yankees’ infamous 2021 series where Gerrit Cole spun out attempting to both defend and brush off his supposed use of the sticky substance came against Minnesota, and Donaldson was at the center of pushing back on the ace.
Prior to that ill-fated series (during which Cole struck Donaldson out twice, before Aroldis Chapman gave him the last laugh with a game-tying bomb the next night), the slugger made his suspicions very clear:
"“Is it coincidence that Gerrit Cole’s spin rate numbers went down [Thursday] after four minor leaguers got suspended for 10 games?” the third baseman told Minnesota reporters. “Is that possible? I don’t know. Maybe. At the same time, with this situation, they’ve let guys do it.”"
At the time, tensions were so high that Donaldson wore a bulky rib protector before stepping in the box that night.
For what it’s worth, Cole and Donaldson touched base in a productive summit on Monday afternoon following the third baseman’s arrival.
All things considered, these are two angry winners who want to win … but the hatchet still needed to be somewhat buried.
Donaldson has long been a jacked-up thorn in the Yankees’ side, dating back to his MVP days in Toronto when he was a more standard villain.
In 2021, things certainly got ratcheted up a bit, though, and he’s now entering New York on a heater — and he’s joining a team that certainly needed a shakeup.
This is … the most a roster can possibly be shaken up.