Former Yankee Russell Martin will be in another uniform next season
For almost 20 years, catcher has been a position of strength in the New York Yankees organization. From Joe Girardi to Jorge Posada to Russell Martin, the Bronx Bombers have had an above average offensive catcher spanning across three separate decades.
However, with the retirement of Jorge Posada last offseason and the departure of Russell Martin, the Yankees are short at the position with no proven major league regulars on the roster.
Their current crop of catching candidates includes career backup Chris Stewart, the offensively challenged Francisco Cervelli and highly touted but inexperienced prospect Austin Romine.
It is not unlikely that these options will fail to perform at an acceptable level to satisfy Yankee fans and management. If they fail to succeed, general manager Brian Cashman will have to explore other options.
There are many experienced major league catchers left on the free agent market
If they so choose, the Yankees will have a multitude of proven major league catchers to sign in the free agent market. Most of the players left can play, at the very least, passable defense while also holding their own in a major league lineup.
These players include Yorvit Torrealba, Kelly Shoppach, Omir Santos, Miguel Olivo, Matt Treanor, Rod Barajas and others.
This is by no means the most attractive way to fill the void the Yankees currently have at catcher, but it is entirely conceivable that one of these low-cost free agents might be the best way to patch the hole for one year.
Cashman could look to teams with catching depth for help
Options such as Kurt Suzuki, Carlos Santana, David Ross and others could be acquired for Austin Romine and other prospects.
Other intriguing choices include John Buck of the Mets, who could become available if top prospect Travis d'Arnaud pushes for the starting job in spring training, or Geovany Soto of the Texas Rangers.
Yankee prospect Gary Sanchez is not quite major league ready yet
Gary Sanchez is expected to one day take over the full-time starting catching job for the Yankees. His defense is expected to become acceptable as he progresses and his bat could be even better than recent prospect Jesus Montero.
However, that day may not come until 2014 or 2015. Sanchez played all of last season in Single-A and it would take a miracle for him to be able to jump Double-A and Triple-A in one season.
However, a lesser prospect, J.R. Murphy, has proven to be capable with the bat in the past and could be a sleeper in the catcher race in the spring.