Rumors: Yankees linked to star catcher despite Higashioka HR-fest

Willson Contreras, yankees

The New York Yankees obliterated the Chicago Cubs on Sunday by a score of 18–4. With the Cubs sitting at 23–36 and the Yankees 44–16, general manager Brian Cashman may be looking to plunder Chicago’s roster for more pieces.

The Yankees don’t have many weaknesses, but the catcher position has been a bit inconsistent this year despite the rise of José Treviño. Currently, Treviño is dealing with a minor lower back injury that shouldn’t impact his playing time. It is interesting to see the Yankees connected with Chicago for star catcher Willson Contreras.

MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand stated that the Yankees, Mets, and Astros have all been linked to Contreras:

Contreras has been a prime trade candidate since last year, when the Cubs shipped off longtime teammates Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Báez prior to the Trade Deadline. After a pedestrian start to 2022 (.720 OPS, two home runs, seven RBIs in 20 games through May 7), the 30-year-old has raked during a 29-game stretch, posting a 1.050 OPS with eight homers and 16 RBI. Contreras is earning $9.625 million this season and is due to be a free agent this winter, making him one of the top rental players this summer.

What would Contreras offer the Yankees?

Contreras isn’t the defensive catcher he once was, but he’s undoubtedly one of the best offensive players at the position. This season, he’s hitting an impressive .267 with 10 homers and 23 RBIs. He would completely revolutionize the Yankees’ catcher spot offensively, but there may not be a need for him given Treviño’s elevation.

Even Kyle Higashioka got into the mix on Sunday, launching two homers, one of them coming off a 35 mph eephus pitch.

Higashioka has still struggled this year, hitting a collective .172 with two homers and seven RBIs. Treviño has been the team’s spark plug and remains one of the best defensive catchers in baseball. Acquiring Contreras might not be necessary for that reason alone.

There could be value in utilizing Contreras in the designated hitter spot, but that is currently housed by Giancarlo Stanton, who is nearly incapable of playing defense without getting injured. With two months left until the trade deadline, the Yankees have time to consider their options and see if Treviño can keep up this magisterial pace. If he begins to quiet down, trading for Contreras might be more realistic, but for now, the Yankees probably feel great about their catcher situation, especially after Higgy broke his homerun drought on Sunday.