The New York Yankees Catcher Conundrum Continues

The Yankees are all in on their backup, but maybe it's a fools errand.

Jack Suhadolnik
New York Yankees, Zach Britton
Aug 30, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka (66) greets pitcher Zach Britton (53) after retiring the side in the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are in a precarious situation regarding their catcher position. Yes, Gary Sanchez is a boon for the team and will be the everyday catcher for the foreseeable future. Kyle Higashioka is a career minor league catcher, who’s a lackluster offensive player, is going to be our backup, even with the prospect of him filling in as the everyday catcher for a couple of weeks at a time. Of course, the Yankees are expecting Sanchez to stay healthy for 140 games, but we need to be prepared for this eventuality.

Why the Yankees WON’T Go After a Free Agent Catcher

Let’s remember, the Yankees are at the final tier of the luxury tax. Anyone they sign is going to be an extra 42.5% tax added on to that player’s salary.

The Yankees are ALL IN on Higashioka. If they weren’t they’d have resigned Austin Romine. Why? Because he’d cost less money than Romine (Maldonado signed for $7 million over two years, Romine signed for $4 million). The Yankees like the power potential they’ve seen from Higashioka. In Higashioka’s 146 at-bats, he has 24 hits, 6 of which are home runs, 7 are doubles. Not bad, but 24-146 is pretty awful all things considered.

Why The Yankees SHOULD Go After Another Catcher

Security, for obvious reasons. They don’t have the greatest of depth at this position. It’s essentially just Sanchez and Higashioka. They did resign Erik Kratz to a minor league deal, but a 40-year-old backup catcher isn’t the greatest insurance policy in the world, right? And, again, Higashioka’s offensive shortcomings make the prospect of Sanchez going down for an extended period all the less appealing.

There are some other catchers who the Yankees could acquire by the trade deadline that would be a greater insurance policy than Erik Kratz. Former Yankees Brian McCann, Chris Stewart, Russell Martin, and Fransisco Cervelli are all free agents on the backend of their careers. A minor-league deal for any of them isn’t a terrible option. And with Yankee fans clamoring for another lefty bat, Brian McCann would make the most sense and appease fan’s concerns.

So, there are options for the New York Yankees next season in the unlikely situation that the Yankees lose both Sanchez AND Higashioka.