Urshela’s roller coaster of an offseason peaked in mid-March, post-lockout. Coincidentally, it was also the moment for most Yankee fans where doubt had begun to seep in that Brian Cashman and the front office had a plan for a return to dominance.
On March 13, the Yankees pulled off a mega-trade, sending Urshela and Gary Sánchez to Minnesota for Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Ben Rortvedt. Just one day prior, on March 12, Aaron Boone had declared Urshela the Yankees’ possible 2022 starting shortstop, a signal to the Bombers’ faithful that the team was ducking out of a high-dollar shortstop market that still included an unsigned Carlos Correa and Trevor Story.
Plus, how could “playing Urshela out of position after a regressive 2021 on both sides of the ball” really be considered a plan, contingency or otherwise? The third baseman — and the fan base — emphatically got their answer the very next day, when the beloved Yankees vet was the centerpiece of a seismic swap.
Now settling in for his first series against his old mates, Urshela commented on the total shock he experienced when he went from prepping for a position switch to calling up the moving company.
Though he remains in first place with his new club, it’s clear the move to the midwest remains jarring enough that he opened up about it prior to Tuesday’s series opener.
Gio Urshela ‘confused’ after Yankees trade
According to Urshela, he was “confused” by the abrupt nature of the swap (even though he had to have known he was somewhat on the chopping block):
"“That day they said I was going to play shortstop and the next day I had a new team,” he said, via the New York Daily News.Urshela said he was looking forward to playing against some of his old teammates.“It’s gonna be fun playing against my old teammates. A lot of memories of good times, the past three years. I mean, every year I play there it’s going through my mind, I spend a lot of time there. My best year in my career was with the Yankees. so it’s gonna be fun.”"
Game 1 of this set did not go fantastically for Urshela, but what do you know? The steady-as-a-rock third baseman is back up to his old tricks in his new home, hitting .274 with 5 homers, 23 RBI and a .729 OPS in a depressed offensive environment.
Prior to this series, he also took time to catch up with his close friend Gleyber Torres who — if not for a roll of the dice — could’ve easily been the one dealt this winter instead.
The Yankees topped the Twins 10-4 in their first battle of the summer, though the first-place Twinkies have looked stronger than the White Sox since the season’s first weeks, buoyed by their mutually-beneficial trade with New York.
Not so “confusing” anymore on either side.