Yankees open to reunion with Gio Urshela, Mets want him too

Gio Urshela is at Yankee Stadium during his tenure with the Yankees in 2021.
Sara Molnick
Monday January 1, 2024

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The name Gio Urshela resonates in New York, not just because of his time in pinstripes but also for the spark he ignited in the Bronx back in 2019. Now, after completing three seasons with the Yankees and brief stints with the Twins and Angels, the seasoned infielder finds himself once again in the realm of free agency, with familiar suitors showing interest.

Will Sammon of The Athletic claims that both the Mets and Yankees, longstanding rivals and neighbors in the Big Apple, are reportedly intrigued by Gio Urshela’s potential. His impressive track record includes a five-year average of .291/.335/.452 across three teams, boasting a solid 115 wRC+. Known for being an above-average hitter with decent defensive skills, primarily at third base, Urshela brings a well-rounded presence to the infield.

However, the narrative around Gio Urshela took an unexpected turn in 2023. A pelvic fracture cut his season with the Angels short in June, casting a shadow over an otherwise commendable .299/.329/.374 performance. Teams may understandably have reservations, questioning his durability and a power dip at the age of 32.

Despite these concerns, Gio Urshela remains one of the more attractive infield options in a surprisingly thin market. With Matt Chapman leading the pack, Urshela stands out as a reliable veteran in a field lacking depth.

Is Gio Urshela New York bound?

The question remains: where will he land? The Yankees face a tricky fit, with Anthony Rizzo, Gleyber Torres, and Anthony Volpe securing first, second, and short, respectively, leaving only third base open. DJ LeMahieu, despite a downturn in performance, remains a stalwart at third, with emerging talents like Oswald Peraza and Oswaldo Cabrera in contention. Adding Gio Urshela might create a logjam, and unless a Torres trade opens up an opportunity, a reunion in the Bronx seems improbable.

On the other hand, the Mets present a different scenario. Jeff McNeil at second and Eduardo Escobar at third aren’t set in stone, and Gio Urshela’s versatility could be a valuable asset. His bat would strengthen the lineup, and his experience could contribute to team leadership.

Ultimately, Gio Urshela’s destination hinges on which team prioritizes his established production over recent injury concerns and potential positional overlap. The open market beckons, and whether it leads to a familiar Bronx return or an exciting new chapter with the Mets, Gio Urshela’s next adventure is about to unfold.

Where Yankees stand to reunite with Gio Urshela


Remember Gio Urshela’s tenure in the Bronx? From 2019 to 2021, he wasn’t merely a Yankee; he embodied the heart and defensive prowess of their infield. While his earlier years in Cleveland and Toronto were marked by slick fielding but a batting struggle, everything clicked in the Bronx. His performances at third base were akin to magic shows, his batting average found its sweet spot, and he unveiled a power surge that caught everyone by surprise. Gio Urshela became a fan favorite, pure and simple.

The sting was palpable when the Yankees traded him away in 2022, parting with him and Gary Sanchez in exchange for Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Ben Rortvedt. Now, two seasons and another team later, whispers of a potential reunion are circulating in the Bronx.

With Kiner-Falefa heading to the Blue Jays, the Yankees are on the lookout for a veteran utility player this offseason. Who’s on their radar? None other than the former Bronx Bomber, Gio Urshela.

The notion isn’t far-fetched. Kiner-Falefa’s departure creates an opening, and Urshela brings proven versatility as a veteran. However, the fit isn’t seamless. Anthony Rizzo, Gleyber Torres, and the emerging Anthony Volpe have solidified first, second, and shortstop, respectively. This leaves third base, where DJ LeMahieu, despite recent struggles, currently holds his ground. Adding Gio Urshela might create a positional logjam unless the Yankees opt for a reshuffle, possibly involving a Torres trade.

Regardless of the Yankees’ decision, one thing is certain: the infield market is thin, and Gio Urshela shines as a bright spot in that landscape. His experience and skills remain valuable, and the Bronx has firsthand knowledge of his potential. Will he make a return to the pinstripes? Only time will reveal the answer. Nevertheless, the mere prospect has rekindled the Bronx’s affection for their once-beloved player, the slick-fielding, homer-hitting, fan-favorite Gio Urshela.

From Bronx Bomber to utility master


Gio Urshela’s narrative with the Yankees unfolds with unexpected twists and remarkable triumphs. Since departing the pinstripes, he has embraced a nomadic lifestyle, showcasing mastery across all infield positions. In the previous season with the Angels, his versatility shone through with 28 starts at third, 19 at first, and brief appearances at short and second, all before a season-ending injury sidelined him.

Despite his travels, New York holds a special place in Gio Urshela’s heart. “It’s always special coming back,” he shared during his return with the Angels last April, his voice laced with nostalgia. His memories of the Bronx are truly golden, etched during a meteoric rise from Triple-A obscurity to Yankee stardom.

His MLB journey commenced with the Indians and Blue Jays, but a 2018 cash deal brought him to the Bronx. Initially intended for Triple-A, Gio Urshela impressed in spring training, earning a call-up that would redefine his career.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Fate intervened when injuries to Andujar and Tulowitzki propelled Gio Urshela into the spotlight. He seized the opportunity, delivering a breakout season (.314 with 21 homers, 74 RBIs) and defensive brilliance reminiscent of Yankees legend Graig Nettles.

The momentum extended into the shortened 2020 season, where Gio Urshela again shone with his bat (.298, 6 HR, 30 RBI) and glove, earning him recognition as a Gold Glove finalist. Consistency marked his 2021 campaign (.267, 14 HR, 49 RBI), seamlessly transitioning between shortstop and third base while LeMahieu held down the fort.

His strong performance continued in 2022 with the Twins (.285, 13 HR, 64 RBI), solidifying his reputation as a dependable infielder. Now, rumors circulate about a potential return to the Bronx. As a versatile utility player, Gio Urshela could seamlessly fit in as LeMahieu’s understudy at third, provide cover for the emerging Volpe at short, or even step in for Torres at second.

His past versatility and present adaptability make him a valuable asset for any team. The Yankees, with their infield puzzle yearning for a final piece, might just discover the perfect fit in their former hero. Whether he graces the pinstripes again or embarks on another adventure, one thing is certain: Gio Urshela’s journey, filled with unexpected turns and unwavering skill, is far from reaching its conclusion.

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