Spring is always a time for Major League Baseball fans to be optimistic, and perhaps especially so this year. Despite the 99-day lockout, it was a wild offseason on the free-agent and trade markets.
All the same, we’re here to say “humbug” about deals that just plain make us nervous.
Specifically, there are three trades and four free-agent signings that we think have the potential to crash and burn in 2022—and beyond in some cases. Not so much because of the cost that teams paid to acquire players, but because the players have Boston Red Sox Jersey red flags that could come back to bite said teams.
Starting with the trades, let’s get to it.
The Deal: Minnesota Twins get 3B Gio Urshela and C Gary Sanchez; New York Yankees get 3B Josh Donaldson, SS Isiah Kiner-Falefa and C Ben Rortvedt
To be fair, the trade in which the Twins got Urshela and Sanchez back from the Yankees was merely one step in a three-step sequence that resulted in them signing Carlos Correa.
But while that helps justify the trade in retrospect, it hardly guarantees that it will prove to be a good deal.
Though Urshela and Sanchez have star-caliber seasons in their past, they came to Minnesota as depreciated assets after combining for 1.3 rWAR in 2021. Between offseason elbow surgery and three stints on the injured list, health was a factor for Urshela. For Sanchez, it was more of the same after a lost 2020 season.
As they’re a combined 3-for-28, neither player is back on track offensively so far in spring training. Even if that doesn’t prove to be a bad omen, this trade could still sting the Twins on defense. Sanchez’s issues behind the plate are well documented, and Urshela’s metrics generally undercut the impression left by his highlight reel.
Even if the ultimate prize was Correa, it shouldn’t be overlooked that the Twins gave up an MVP-winning third baseman, a Gold Glove-winning shortstop and a well-regarded defensive catcher to acquire Urshela and Sanchez. As an entry into the “upside play” genre, it’s all a tad too risky for our liking.