Twins trade Gio Urshela to Angels

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A still beardless Gio Urshela says he was ‘confused’ when the Yankees traded him to Minnesota. (Jon Blacker/AP)

It’s not often that a player gets traded twice in a matter of two years, but that is the case this time around for Gio Urshela. The third baseman will be headed to Hollywood and will be donning an Angels uniform after being traded by the Minnesota Twins. Jeff Passan of ESPN reported the trade first.

It’s the second consecutive offseason in which Urshela finds himself on the move. Minnesota landed him alongside Gary Sánchez in the Spring Training blockbuster that sent Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa to the Yankees.

The deal consists of the Angels sending Class-A right-hander Alejandro Hidalgo in exchange for the seven-year veteran who can play both positions on the left side of the infield. Urshela played a key role for the Twins this season as he hit .285/.338/.429 with 27 doubles, three triples, and 13 home runs. It was a step up from the .267/.301/.419 showing he’d posted during his final season in the Bronx, particularly when one considers overall offense around the league dropped from 2021 to ’22. Urshela cut his strikeout rate from a career-worst 24.7% to just 17.4%, making contact on an above-average 81% of his swings. Hidalgo was the no. 22 prospect for the Angels.

 The Angels plan to use the veteran every day, as it is likely that Urshela will likely slot in at shortstop for his new club, pushing David Fletcher to second base. The general perception of Urshela’s glovework seems to lead more towards him being an average to slightly above-average defender. It’d appear the Halos feel similarly, as it’s possible he ends up assuming a more demanding position in Anaheim than he has in his previous stops. The Angels have Anthony Rendon locked in at third base, and while the two-time Silver Slugger award winner has battled his share of injury issues in recent years, he’ll surely be in the lineup most days when healthy.

That’d seem to point towards Urshela getting more action in the middle infield, particularly at shortstop. The Angels got almost no offensive production at shortstop this past season, with Andrew Velazquez taking the bulk of the workload. Anaheim has David Fletcher to man one of the middle infield positions, with the bulk of his MLB experience coming at second base. Urshela looks as if he’ll be penciled in as the primary shortstop, where he has just 288 career innings at the highest level. That’d push Luis Rengifo into a utility role, but Urshela would be capable of kicking back over to third base if Rendon battles renewed injury concerns.

Urshela’s a short-term solution, as he has between five and six years of major league service. He’s in his final season of arbitration eligibility and will be a free agent at the end of the 2023 campaign. 

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