On Friday, the New York Yankees announced that starting catcher Jose Trevino would miss the remainder of the season after tearing a ligament in his wrist that will require surgery. Trevino, by his own admission, had been dealing with the condition since spring. That may explain why his performance had declined so precipitously from last season, when he made his first (and to date only) All-Star Game appearance and even won a Gold Glove Award.
To wit, Trevino and the Yankees' other backstops (their current tandem of Ben Rortvedt and Kyle Higashioka) had combined to give New York the fifth-worst OPS at the catcher position this season as of Friday. The only teams who ranked lower than the Yankees in that category were the San Diego Padres, Miami Marlins, Cleveland Guardians, and Pittsburgh Pirates. The Padres, Guardians, and Pirates have each either acquired a new catcher from outside the organization or have promoted someone internally within the last month.
Seeing as how this is trade season, we here at CBS Sports figured this would be a good time to highlight eight potential trade candidates the Yankees may inquire about ahead of Major League Baseball's Aug. 1 deadline. These players are presented in order of their perceived availability.
1. Austin Hedges, Pittsburgh Pirates
Hedges seems certain to move before the deadline now that the Pirates have brought up well-regarded youngster Endy Rodríguez. The nine-year veteran leads the majors in framing, having recorded more than 65 strikes looking above average. For reference, Trevino was the next-closest American League catcher, and he checked in at 50.
C Austin Hedges led the catchers in MLB yesterday with the best SL+ vs. @SFGiants— Carlos Muñoz (@Carlos96munoz) July 16, 2023
League average: 99.7
Batters faced: 26
(SL+: Catcher strike looking rate vs. average **)
Data: @TruMediaSports 📊#pirates #mlb #baseball pic.twitter.com/iWZ3rqcXz8
There is one teensy-weensy little problem with Hedges: he's an abysmal hitter -- as in, he's posted the worst wOBA among any big-league hitter this season with at least 150 trips to the plate. The Yankees would probably want more offense from an outside addition.
2. Manny Piña, Oakland Athletics
Piña has been limited by injuries to four games this season, and nine games dating back to last year. He's on the shelf even now with a wrist contusion. All the missed time makes it hard to know if he remains the same player he was in 2021, when he hit for a 95 OPS+ and provided above-average defense. What we do know is that the Athletics would likely love to move Piña, who, believe it or not, is tied for their third-highest-paid player despite making just $4.5 million.
Grandal is clearly nearing the end of the road as a big-league contributor. He's making far less authoritative contact than usual; he's showing far less discretion with his swing decisions; and even his once-stellar framing now ranks in the 39th percentile. Despite all that, he continues to sport a 96 OPS+.
If the Yankees want an offensive boost behind the plate, no matter the cost in other respects or the downside risk, then Grandal might make sense as a target -- especially if the White Sox are willing to give him away to save some coins.
4. Omar Narváez, New York Mets
The Mets signed Narváez over the winter to serve as a bridge until Francisco Alvarez was ready for primetime. Alvarez was then thrust into the role anyway when Narváez suffered an injury early in the season, and he's since taken the catching job as his own. Now, Narváez seems downright expendable. There are a few catches with him. Foremost, he's now up to nearly 350 consecutive plate appearances of well-below-average production; and two, he has a player option for next season worth $7 million that he seems certain to exercise. We're guessing the Yankees would rather not have that on their books.
The Cubs technically hold a $6 million club option on Gomes' services for next season that could tempt them to keep him in the fold. We suspect they'll at least consider moving him to take advantage of his surprisingly productive season (he entered Saturday with a 96 OPS+) and their newfound depth at the position. On the latter note, the Cubs also employ rookie sensation Miguel Amaya and veteran Tucker Barnhart. Chicago would probably prefer to move Barnhart if all else was equal. It's not -- Gomes is likely to bring back more.
6. Elias Díaz, Colorado Rockies
Not only did Díaz just make his first All-Star Game, but he also won the contest's MVP Award. How about that? Regardless of his soaring Q score, Díaz is an OK backstop who offers pull-side power and an above-average arm.
The Rockies often operate in a reality of their own creation, so it's possible that they greatly overvalue Díaz and intend to hold onto him. He has another year remaining on his contract (at $6 million), so we could be doing this again with him next July.
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This one is conditional on the Mariners having a rough next week. Should they find themselves on the outskirts of the playoff picture, they may entertain moving Murphy before he reaches free agency this winter. While he's a below-average defender across the board (framing, blocking, and throwing), Murphy has been a highly productive hitter, particularly against left-handed pitching. He'd certainly provide the Yankees with more pop from the position.
We'll close out this exercise with a wild card entry. Bart, the No. 2 pick in the 2018 draft, has yet to find sustained big-league success in nearly 500 plate appearances. What's more is that he's been usurped as the Giants' catcher of the future this season by Patrick Bailey.
Bart will enter next season without any minor-league options remaining, meaning the Giants are going to have to make a call sooner or later about his future with the organization. Of course, the Yankees might prefer a more proven quantity given their circumstances; otherwise, they might deem it worth proceeding with their current tandem.