2. IKF and Donaldson Were Enough (and Better Than We Thought!)
The trade that brought Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Josh Donaldson to the Bronx was arguably the most underwhelming deal deemed a “blockbuster” (at the time) possibly … ever? The Yankees rid themselves of Gary Sánchez and shipped off Gio Urshela in the deal, but fans weren’t exactly convinced IKF and Donaldson would move the needle.
And when we eventually learned why this trade was made, it was all the more infuriating. But Cashman did the absolute best he could with the organization’s financial restraints and created one of the best infields in the league. Who needed Carlos Correa or Corey Seager or Trevor Story (all of whom, by the way, are performing very poorly at the moment)?!
Kiner-Falefa has been the contact bat the bottom of the lineup has desperately needed in addition to the sure-handed glove many were pining for while Gleyber Torres fumbled routine grounder after routine grounder.
As for Donaldson, though his numbers in a vacuum look downright terrible (.197 average and 23 strikeouts), he’s almost single-handedly responsible for three wins this month (walk-off vs the Red Sox and go-ahead homers vs the Orioles and Guardians). He’s also been the jolt of energy this roster has needed. Over the last two years, the lifelessness that was evident both during and after games took a toll on everybody. Now, Donaldson (and Rizzo) are certainly playing the wily veteran role to galvanize the troops each and every day.
This could go down as one of the most shrewd dealings of the offseason if the production and good vibes persist.