The New York Yankees are on the brink of a big 2023 offseason. In preparation for the several marquee acquisitions they aim to make, two of their catchers could be on the move prior to Spring training.
Kyle Higashioka Could Be on the Wrong Side of Yankees’ Youth Initiative
Back in September, starting catcher Kyle Higashioka spoke about taking a backseat to Austin Wells as the Yankees opted to play their young core for the final stretch of the season. Per Mark W. Sanchez of the New York Post, Higashioka took a team-friendly approach by stating:
“They’ve got to see what Wells has got. He’s been playing great in the minor leagues, and he’s definitely an exciting prospect for the future.”
That was pertaining to the Yankees’ final 25 games in which their playoff hopes were dwindled. With Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner stating his commitment to making the team younger ahead of 2024, the 33-year-old Higashioka could find himself on the move as a result.
Higashioka will be eligible for arbitration in 2024 with a $2.2 million salary. He doesn’t hit unrestricted free agency until 2025. While he’s the highest-paid catcher on the team, shedding his contract won’t make a big enough impact on their inflated luxury tax status. Nonetheless, the seven-year veteran has his name floating around as a potential trade asset, though news has not surfaced regarding teams reaching out to facilitate a deal or vice versa.
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Does Ben Rortvedt Carry Enough Trade Value?
Ben Rortvedt played well under expectations in 2023. He posted a .118/.241/.221 slash line and did not make a splash at the plate. He did post a .991 fielding percentage but was featured sparingly in the Yankees’ rotation.
Rortvedt was an affordable roster filler at roughly $500,000 this past season. The 26-year-old does not have age working against him but his play suggests that the Yankees may be better off getting back a draft pick in return.