Yankees sign a catcher to compete with Sanchez, Higashioka

Robinson Chirinos, New York Yankees
Sep 26, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Mets catcher Robinson Chirinos (26) clears the dirt around home base during the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

If you are familiar with the New York Yankees catching situation, you are also likely familiar with Gary Sanchez’s stats from 2020. The Yankees actually offered him a slight raise this upcoming season, but the 28-year-old catcher only has one opportunity left to prove he can be a long-term solution at the position. He will earn $6.35 million for the 2021 campaign, coming off a season where he struck out 36% of his at-bats and hit just .147.

The Yankees are confident he can bounce back after a tumultuous year, but his regression has been occurring for quite some time, and returning to his 2017 form might be a lost cause. Nonetheless, the Yankees didn’t have an exorbitant amount of cash to play with this off-season, so signing him to a new deal seem to be a monetary move. The Yankees still have Kyle Higashioka as an option, as he overcame Sanchez for a majority of starting reps in the postseason last year. He hit .250 with four homers and 10 RBIs over 48 plate-appearances.

The New York Yankees aren’t done making moves yet:

Despite having two catchers competing for the starting spot, general manager Brian Cashman felt the need to add another on a minor league contract. The Yankees recently went out and signed Robinson Chirinos, who featured with the New York Mets last year and signed a minor-league deal with the Bombers over the weekend. At 36 years old, Chirinos played for the Houston Astros in 2019, where he featured with Gerrit Cole significantly.

It seems as if Cole has had his hands full this off-season, helping the Yankees pick new players, notably Jameson Taillon. Last year with the Mets, he hit .162 and one homer, recording a negative WAR for the first time in six years. He’s not an offensive weapon but rather a defensive maestro who could end up being Cole’s personal catcher given any injuries to Higashioka or deficiencies.

This is a solid cost-efficient move to add defensive depth to the catcher position, one that is still a liability as we head towards spring training on Wednesday.