Breaking: What The Jon Berti Trade Means For The Yankees Roster…

On the eve of Opening Day, New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman pulled off a three-team trade with the Tampa Bay Rays and Miami Marlins to land infielder Jon Berti. Before the deal, there was no clear backup at third base to DJ LeMahieu, who is now on the IL with a bruised foot. It looked like they were about to go into the season carrying three catchers on the roster, with no utility infielder of note apart from Oswaldo Cabrera. However, this deal solves that and more. What Berti’s trade means for the Yankees roster goes beyond simply being a solid infield option; his unique skillset adds much-needed versatility to the lineup with his elite speed.

What the Berti Trade Means for the Yankees Roster

In the deal, the Yankees moved on from Ben Rortvedt, who was slated to be the club’s third catcher. Also in the deal goes 18-year-old outfield prospect John Cruz, their 28th overall prospect, to Miami. He’s not an insignificant piece by any means. Cruz hit .294 last year and has plenty of upside for Miami to develop. However, the Yankees are stacked with outfield prospects, so it made Cruz expendable with the right deal.

With Rortdvedt traded, the Yankees also have plenty of depth at catcher to withstand it. Furthermore, it allows the team’s top catcher prospect Austin Wells to really grab a hold of the starting catcher job, with Jose Trevino backing him up. Incidentally, Rortdtvedt was the last vestige of the ill-fated Josh Donaldson trade. It’s best for both parties to move on.

Jon Berti provides contact, sensational speed, and above-average defense at third and short. He can also play second base and left field in a pinch. It allows Oswaldo Cabrera to serve as the utility infielder until LeMahieu returns, with Berti being the prospective starter. Presumably, he will then assume a backup role upon LeMahieu’s return.

Diving into Berti’s Numbers

According to his Baseball Savant page, there are several categories where Berti is considered elite. First off, his speed is rated in the 95th percentile, he has ridiculous speed on the basepaths, one of the fastest in the game. Indeed, in 2022 he stole 41 bases to lead MLB. Overall, he stole 57 bases over two seasons for the Marlins.

At the plate, he’s not a guy who strikes out much. His chase rate, whiff rate, and strikeout percentage are all in the top quarter percentile. His xBA is in the 87th percentile. He hit .294 in 2023 with a .749 OPS and 103 OPS+, all solid rates. This is a high-contact, low-strikeout, speedy guy who can play all over the infield.

Defensively, his range is in the 89th percentile. Although his arm isn’t the strongest, his range allows him to play the infield spots with ease.


Furthermore, he has a similar FWAR to DJ LeMahieu since 2022, both above 4 FWAR. Berti isn’t a pull hitter either. He often takes the ball the other way and can spray the ball to all fields, and although he has little power, his contact should be a welcome addition to the lineup.

Adding Some Needed Versatility

What Berti’s trade means for the Yankees roster is, in a word, versatility. Not just defensively but offensively. Fans of the crosstown New York Mets will be relieved he’s now out of their division, as he wreaked havoc against them. One game in August 2020 stands out – Berti stole second, third, and home in the same inning against the Mets. Yankee fans can salivate at the prospect of Volpe and Berti’s speed in the same lineup to go with huge boppers in the middle of the order like Aaron Judge, Juan Soto, Anthony Rizzo, and Giancarlo Stanton.

This is the kind of versatility Berti adds to the Yankees roster. Berti may be a leadoff candidate for the Yankees order on occasion. As a leadoff hitter with the Marlins last season, he batted .354 in 89 plate appearances. He should also get plenty of at-bats against lefties. In 2023, he hit .325 with an excellent .804 OPS facing southpaws.

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