New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman, known for his commitment to social causes, recently participated in a yearly event to raise awareness for youth homelessness via the Covenant House. During this event, Cashman also shared insights into the Yankees’ current offseason strategy.
With free agency in full swing, the Yankees, like many MLB teams, are proceeding with caution. Cashman hinted that while no moves have been made yet, the team is actively exploring various options and engaging in potential negotiations.
Yankees Exploring Trade Opportunities
A key focus for the Yankees is the catcher position, where they possess significant depth. This strength has attracted interest from other teams, considering the overall scarcity of quality catchers in the league. Cashman acknowledged this interest, suggesting that the Yankees might leverage their catching depth in upcoming trades.
“It’s not a deep position in the game. A lot of teams are knocking on our door about catching depth. It’s an area of strength for us.”
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Potential Trade Candidates
Evaluating Catchers on the Trading Block
The most obvious candidate to be moved is Kyle Higashioka, a 33-year-old entering the final year of arbitration. This past season, Higashioka hit .236 with a .274 OBP, including his third consecutive season with 10 home runs, 34 RBIs, and an 86 wRC+.
Higgy is a fine player, offering decent offense for a catcher and good enough defense to be a starter on some teams. Unfortunately, he was stuck behind defensive maestro José Treviño, and rookie Austin Wells is primed to take on a starting role.
In addition, Ben Rortvedt, a 26-year-old lefty hitter, has also developed his defensive game, becoming Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher down the road to close the season.
Unfortunately, Rortvedt hit just .118 with a .241 OBP, including two homers, four RBIs, and a 35 wRC+ across 32 games. He can be a good defender on another team, but there’s no chance he is replacing Treviño when healthy, so it’s in the best interest of the team to move on.
Exploring Other Catching Options
Carlos Narvaez, a Triple-A catcher, could also be considered for trade, given the logjam at the position. Additionally, the Yankees’ recent addition of Double-A prospect Agustin Ramirez to the 40-man roster signals confidence in his potential, following an impressive season with High-A Hudson Valley.
The Prospect of Ben Rice
Not to be overlooked is Ben Rice, another catching prospect whose future contributions could influence the Yankees’ decision-making. The depth at catcher allows the Yankees the flexibility to potentially include one of these players in a larger trade deal, possibly to acquire prospects or strengthen their bullpen.
Overall, Cashman’s strategy involves utilizing the team’s surplus in specific areas to address other needs, ensuring a well-rounded and competitive roster for the upcoming season.