Don’t be surprised if the Yankees trade away a catcher this winter, possibly more than one.
The Yankees are informing other clubs in trade talks that at least two of the catchers on their 40-man roster are available, per SNY’s Andy Martino.
Veteran Kyle Higashioka (the Yankees’ longest-tenured player) and Ben Rortvedt are the backstops that could be moved.
Martino’s report adds more fuel to a narrative that was beginning to develop as the regular season came to a close. With Jose Trevino returning from his season-ending wrist injury and rookie Austin Wells poised to begin next season on the active roster, the Yankees have a surplus of big-league catchers under contract. That’s before diving into the upper levels of the farm system as well.
Higashioka, 33, is a non-tender candidate. While he’s poised to be a victim of an offseason roster crunch after Wells’ arrival, he’s more than capable of helping another MLB team. He’s an elite pitch-framer with a bat capable of flashing power from the right side.
The Yankees can hold on to Higashioka through the winter — 2024 is his final season of arbitration before entering free agency — with plans to use him in a trade for a team looking to bolster their catching room. Having more depth heading into spring training isn’t a bad idea. Pulling the trigger early this offseason and moving on is understandably on the table as well.
Rortvedt, 26, has one of the best arms of any catcher in baseball, enough to control the run game. His framing metrics are strong as well, living up to the reputation he carried over from the Twins when he was acquired in the Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela trade two springs ago.