This season, the New York Yankees catcher position has been extremely inconsistent, despite Jose Treviño picking things up offensively. The former Texas Ranger is hitting .236 with two homers and 10 RBIs this season but is also performing exceedingly well defensively. He has the best strike rate in all of baseball, but his counterpart, Kyle Higashioka, has struggled to open the year.
Higashioka is hitting a measly .164 with a 22.2% on base rate. Last season, Higashioka launched 10 homers over 67 games, but he’s failed to clear the outfield wall this season, making him virtually useless as an offensive player. In fact, his defensive stats have also taken a tremendous hit, earning a career-worst 46.6% strike rate.
General manager Brian Cashman may consider a potential trade at the deadline with an issue brewing at the catcher position.
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The Yankees could target Willson Contreras:
Willson Contreras was a name connected to the Yankees before the 2022 campaign began. At 30 years old, Contreras is hitting .264 with seven homers and 16 RBIs. He’s one of the best offensive catchers in baseball, but he has struggled defensively this year, posting a 43% strike rate. The Bombers would have to sacrifice good defensive catcher for an offensive powerhouse at the position, something they’ve done in the past.
In 2020, Contreras did record a 51.3% strike rate, the highest in his career. He has slowly degraded from that number, but his offensive capabilities exceed his defensive liabilities. He ranks in the 97th percentile in average exit velocity, 99th percentile in hard-hit percentage, and 97th percentile in xSLG.
In addition, Contreras is striking out at just 20.2% and walking at 11.3%. His 38.7% on base rate is significantly better than Treviño and Higashioka’s numbers.
The question is, what would the Yankees have to give up to acquire Contreras in the first place?
They could put together a package that includes Higashioka and minor-league shortstop Trey Sweeney. The Cubs have one high-end shortstop prospect, but adding another is always a good move at one of the most important positions in baseball.
The Yanks can feel comfortable moving on from one of their shortstop prospects, considering they have Anthony Volpe, Oswald Peraza, and Roderick Arias in the farm system.
In return, you get one of the best offensive catchers in baseball that pairs perfectly with Treviño, a defensive maestro. The bottom of the order has been catastrophically bad, so injecting a great offensive player into the mix would be hugely beneficial.