Could the Yankees make a surprise move for a catcher?

As the trade deadline approaches in a few weeks, the New York Yankees have several needs to address. Surprisingly, one position that General Manager Brian Cashman might consider enhancing is the catcher role.

Though Jose Treviño remains a fan favorite and had a commendable performance during the 2022 season, his offensive statistics have nosedived. Despite scoring .248 with a .283 OBP last year, inclusive of 11 home runs and 43 RBIs, his current metrics stand at .216 with a .263 OBP, amounting to 61 wRC+, 30 points beneath last season’s.

Treviño has never been regarded as an offensive force, which makes his 2022 numbers seem somewhat anomalous.

The Yankees aren’t getting enough offense from the catcher spot:

The Yankees had high hopes that he could reproduce those numbers, but thus far, he’s been more of a detriment than a benefit at the batting box. Nonetheless, he continues to be a robust defensive catcher, ranking fourth in strike rate and joint-second with three catcher framing runs.

Several teams across the league have opted for defense-oriented catchers, foregoing offensive output. However, the Yankees are persistently nurturing prospect Austin Wells as a catcher, who could potentially offer a powerful left-handed batting presence in the future.

Despite Wells hitting .269 with a .368 OBP and 144 wRC+, they have him stationed at the Double-A level.

By now, Wells should be playing in Triple-A with Scranton, but it appears the Yankees have a different strategy. They might be fast-tracking him to assume the starting catcher role in the near future, but they are proceeding cautiously with the young prospect, who has had defensive difficulties behind the plate.

Naturally, the Bombers don’t want to rely on Kyle Higashioka as their primary starter, considering the 33-year-old is hitting .223 with a .270 OBP. He has his second-highest career strikeout rate at 31% and ranks 24th in catcher framing runs and 31st in strike rate.

Trade deadline opportunities might be limited, but the Yankees could contemplate acquiring Yasmani Grandal, the Chicago White Sox catcher, renowned for his offensive capabilities.

Grandal is in the final year of a four-year, $73 million contract, which means the Yankees wouldn’t have to shoulder much financial burden to facilitate the move.

The 34-year-old is hitting .251 with a .321 OBP, amounting to 96 wRC+. Having an offensively potent catcher to strengthen the bottom half of the order would be a significant advantage for the Yankees, though they might prefer to channel their resources into strengthening left field.

At this juncture, predicting Brian Cashman’s moves at the deadline is challenging, given the team’s numerous needs and limited resources after making substantial sales at last year’s deadline.