Minnesota Twins: Gio Urshela’s Underrated Importance to 2022 Twins

Minnesota Twins third baseman Gio Urshela hits a RBI single against the New York Yankees. (Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports)
Minnesota Twins third baseman Gio Urshela hits a RBI single against the New York Yankees. (Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Minnesota Twins made headlines this offseason by pulling off a surprising trade with the New York Yankees. One of the players that came over to the Twin Cities and has been a big reason why this lineup has had the depth to compete at a high level: Gio Urshela.

Perhaps not the biggest name of the trade, Urshela is in the middle of a bounce-back season following a disappointing 2021 campaign with the Yankees. Urshela is currently spotting a .261/.304/.429 slash line may not raise many eyebrows, but it is suitable for a 110 OPS+.

The third baseman was a late bloomer breaking out in his first two full seasons in pinstripes after failing to establish himself as a big league hitter with Cleveland and Toronto, and is having success here as well.

In a lineup with Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa, Jorge Polanco, and other prominent performers, Urshela doesn’t need to carry the load, and a big part of why this lineup has that quality is through him.

The trade with the Yankees can’t be analyzed in a vacuum. Gio Urshela came in to replace Josh Donaldson, and taking aside the fact he currently bolsters a better season at the plate (something that few, if any, could’ve predicted), it must be acknowledged that moving the entirety of Donaldson’s contract off the payroll was a big reason why the front office was able to go out and make a splash by signing Carlos Correa.

Urshela even has created a bit of a positive logjam in the Twins infield, with José Miranda’s emergence as one of the better rookies in the American League. Luis Arraez and Miranda have alternated at the DH position to accommodate everyone.

Urshela is a FA in 2024, and with Luis Arraez and José Miranda controllable through many years, the Twins may look to cash in on a solid season and flip Urshela while they can, but that’s something to think about for the offseason. Polanco is also a free agent in 2024, and the Twins need to figure out if they will bring him back long-term.

For now, one of the points of strength for the 2022 Minnesota Twins is the infield, and a big part of that is because of the Gio Urshela acquisition and what it allowed the team to do elsewhere.

Next. Minnesota Twins’ Upcoming Stretch is a Pivotal Point to the 2022 Season. dark