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MLB transactions update: Donaldson, Sonny, Suzuki, Chavez, Familia

Lots of former A’s find new homes

Cincinnati Reds v Chicago White Sox Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

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With only a week between the end of the MLB lockout and the start of spring training games, the transactions are coming in hot just as expected. The CBA was signed on Thursday, and by the time we did our first roundup Saturday afternoon, several stars had signed and one major trade had been completed.

The moves picked up even more steam through the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday. There are so many that we’re going to break it up into two lists, beginning with former A’s players finding new homes.

  • TRADE: Yankees acquire 3B Josh Donaldson, SS Isiah Kiner-Falefa, C Ben Rortvedt; Twins acquire C Gary Sanchez, 3B Gio Urshela
  • TRADE: Twins acquire RHP Sonny Gray, Reds acquire a prospect
  • TRADE: Mets acquire RHP Chris Bassitt, A’s acquire prospects
  • Red Sox sign LHP Jake Diekman (multi-year)
  • Phillies sign RHP Jeurys Familia (1yr/$6m)
  • White Sox sign UT Josh Harrison (1yr/$6m)
  • Angels re-sign C Kurt Suzuki (1yr/$2m)
  • Cubs sign RHP Jesse Chavez (minors)

That’s a lot of familiar names! Of course, the most relevant of those for Athletics Nation is the Bassitt trade, as it affects the current Oakland roster. Click here to read more about the two prospects the A’s got back from New York, RHP J.T. Ginn and RHP Adam Oller.

Next up are Diekman and Harrison, who were both on the 2021 team but had already exited as free agents. Now they’re definitely not coming back this year, as they’ve agreed with new clubs. Click here for a refresher on the rest of the A’s outgoing free agents.

Meanwhile, there were two blockbuster trades involving former A’s stars, with one of them heading to Minnesota and the other heading out. In the afternoon, the Twins picked up Sonny plus a prospect from the Reds, in exchange for last year’s 1st-round draft pick.

Then in the evening Minnesota made an even bigger deal with the Yankees, headlined by Donaldson going to New York. The Twins also sent out Kiner-Falefa, just one day after acquiring him from the Rangers. Add up their two-day total between that Texas swap and this latest one, and they traded a star catcher and star third baseman (Garver and Donaldson) for a new catcher and third baseman (Sanchez and Urshela), while also shaving around $10 million off their 2022 payroll — exactly Sonny’s salary.

The Yankees revamp the left side of their infield. Donaldson is still a reliably strong hitter and a decent defender entering age 36, and Kiner-Falefa is a plus defender who can hold down shortstop for a couple years until the next prospect arrives. They take on some salary for 2022, and also some long-term commitment as Donaldson has another expensive season in 2023 as well as a 2024 option with a pricey buyout.

Notable for A’s fans is that the Yankees were considered a potential suitor for Oakland third baseman Matt Chapman, but they’ve got the hot corner locked down now so we can safely cross them off the list of trade targets for Chappy.

More transactions!

Those were just the former A’s who changed uniforms in the past 36 hours. Here’s everybody else who moved around during that time:

  • Nationals sign DH Nelson Cruz (1yr/$15m)
  • White Sox sign RHP Joe Kelly (2yr/$17m)
  • Rockies sign SS Jose Iglesias (1yr/$5m)
  • D’Backs sign RHP Ian Kennedy (1yr/$5m)
  • Mets sign RHP Adam Ottavino (1yr/$4m)
  • Red Sox sign LHP Matt Strahm (1yr/$3m)
  • Astros sign UT Niko Goodrum (1yr/$2m)
  • Nationals sign UT Ehire Adrianza (1yr/$2m)
  • Cardinals sign RHP Nick Wittgren (1yr/$1m)
  • Orioles sign C Robinson Chirinos (1yr/$1m)
  • Guardians sign C Luke Maile (1yr/$1m)
  • Rockies sign RHP Alex Colome (1yr/$??)
  • Dodgers sign UT Hansel Alberto (1yr/$??)
  • Yankees sign OF Tim Locastro (1yr/$??)
  • Astros sign OF Lewis Brinson (minors)
  • Rangers sign LHP Matt Moore (minors)
  • Giants sign RHP Carlos Martinez (minors)

The headliner of the list is Cruz, not only as the biggest name but also as a notable piece of history. With the designated hitter coming to the National League this year, Washington becomes the first NL team to go out and get a star DH to fill their new job. The one-year deal has a mutual option for 2023, a season during which he’ll turn 43, but he’s still one of the best in the biz.

Looking toward the AL West, not a whole lot happened. Houston added some depth, nabbing the pesky Goodrum and rolling the dice on the busted career of former top prospect Brinson. Texas continues their active offseason with some pitching depth, and Moore still only turns 33 this summer. As seen earlier, Suzuki is staying in Anaheim for a second season.

And how about those Mets? After acquiring Bassitt, they also went and signed Ottavino for their bullpen, which already had tons of strikeouts in it and now has even more.

What will Monday bring? There are still some nine-figure free agents out there (Correa, Freeman, Bryant, Story, Castellanos), and four more A’s stars on the block (Olson, Chapman, Manaea, Montas), so stay tuned for more any minute now!