The New York Yankees desperately needed catching support with newly acquired backstop Ben Rortvedt from the Minnesota Twins dealing with an oblique injury that will keep him out beyond opening day. General manager Brian Cashman has been looking to supplement the loss of Gary Sanchez, whom he sent over in the deal with Minnesota that also added Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Josh Donaldson to the roster.
However, it seems as if management is extremely optimistic that Kyle Higashioka can handle the load this upcoming season, especially given his hot start to spring training. Higashioka is hitting .478 with seven homers and 11 RBIs over 23 at-bats. To make matters even better for the Yankees, Higashioka is a phenomenal defensive catcher who is preferred by the majority of Yankee pitchers.
Cashman recognized that the team needed experience at the catcher position, trading for Texas Rangers catcher Jose Trevino. The Bombers send over right-handed relief pitcher Albert Abreu and left-hander Robby Ahlstrom in the deal.
At 29 years old, Trevino played in 89 games last year, posting a .239 batting average with five homers and 30 RBIs. While Trevino isn’t going to light up the scoreboard with his offensive production, he is a fantastic defensive player, recording a .993 fielding percentage last season with just six errors allowed over 713 innings. Trevino also picked up seven caught stealing and allowed four passed-balls.
Rortvedt is expected to miss at least the next few weeks but has started individual hitting drills, looking to make a bit of progress this week in his return. However, his MLB action is limited to just 39 games, all of which occurred last year with Minnesota.
While Cashman is clearly executing low-key deals to bolster specific positions, it seems as if the Yankees are prioritizing defensive metrics behind home plate instead of offensive prowess in the batter’s box.
It does seem as though Higashioka is ready to take over the starting job with Sanchez departing, despite hitting just .181 last year with 10 homers over 67 games.