New York Yankees: 5 Potential Options at Catcher for 2013
First and foremost, I'd like to wish all of you a Happy New Year.
As the calendar turned to 2013 on Tuesday, the New York Yankees are still without a starting catcher.
I'm not looking at any of the current options the Yankees have on their roster as a starting catcher.
Francisco Cervelli was sent down to the minors right before the 2012 season started, and he is a career backup.
Chris Stewart is another career backup, and spent most of 2012 behind Russell Martin
They also have Austin Romine, who is in the minors and spent most of 2012 injured. Right now, he's not seen as a starter.
The Yankees also brought in a former Angels backstop, Bobby Wilson, on a minor-league deal as another backup.
If you ask me on January 2, I do not see any of these four players being the starting catcher for the Yankees on Opening Day of 2013.
Here are five potential catcher options for Yankees GM Brian Cashman.
Free Agent: Rod Barajas
There aren't a lot of options left on the free agent market.
Of the catchers available, veteran Rod Barajas is probably the best one of the bunch.
The 37-year-old would likely require only a one-year deal. So, if Yankees top prospect Gary Sanchez is ready to go in 2014, he wouldn't be blocked coming up to the major leagues.
Barajas' offensive numbers are nothing to get excited over though, hitting .206 with 11 home runs and 31 RBI with the Pirates in 2012.
He's still a decent backstop with a ton of experience and could manage a pitching staff well.
With Brian Cashman's recent trend of bringing in veterans on one-year deals, Barajas makes sense.
Free Agent: Kelly Shoppach
The only other free agent catcher I could even see Yankees have any interest in would be Kelly Shoppach.
Shoppach was with the Red Sox last season. He was one of the main guys who were fed up with Bobby Valentine (according to the New York Daily News) and got his wish by being traded out of town to the New York Mets.
In 76 games, Shoppach hit .233 with eight home runs and 27 RBI.
However, Shoppach is another veteran backstop who could manage a pitching staff well, and a one-year deal could land him.
Last season Shoppach made about $1.13 million, so with a budget-concerned Yankee team, Shoppach would be very affordable.
Plus, Shoppach also wouldn't block Sanchez's path to the majors.
Trade: Brian McCann
The Atlanta Braves have one year left on Brian McCann's deal for $12 million in 2013.
It'll be very interesting to see if the Braves keep the 28-year-old catcher or look to move him for prospects.
If they look to deal him, the Yankees could definitely have interest.
The six-time National League All-Star is coming off a down year, hitting just .230, but he still hit 20 home runs and 67 RBI in 121 games for Atlanta last season.
If the Yankees were going to ask for McCann in a deal, I would assume Atlanta might ask for Gary Sanchez as a starting point in a deal.
Cashman would have to then figure out if McCann is really worth trading away their future catcher, especially when McCann was coming off a down season.
I personally like McCann, but I can see Atlanta asking for more than the Yankees want to deal.
Trade: Carlos Santana
This kind of player would almost require the Yankees to trade Sanchez.
But Carlos Santana has the potential to be one of the best young catchers in the game and he could really thrive playing in a park like Yankee Stadium.
In 2011, Santana had his best power numbers with 27 home runs and 79 RBI, even though he only hit just .239.
In 2012 Santana hit .252, but had just 18 home runs with 76 RBI.
Aside from playing catcher, Santana can play first base, be a part-time DH and did see some games out in left field as well.
It's hard to gather what direction the Tribe are going. They traded top outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, but added Nick Swisher and Mark Reynolds to their offense.
I think Cleveland would have to be overwhelmed for an offer in order to part with Santana.
Trade: Miguel Montero
This would be a very expensive addition for the team, and it would also require them to part with Gary Sanchez.
But, Montero would be able to bring a combination of power and average to the catcher position and I think do very well in the Yankees lineup.
With the Arizona Diamondbacks, Montero produced good numbers playing in Chase Field, hitting .286 with 15 home runs and 86 RBI in 141 games.
As a left-handed hitter, Montero could see his numbers go up—just like any other left hitter who has any power and hits well.
But like I said before, Montero would be an expensive contract to pick up. He's on hook for another five years and $60 million, which isn't terrible.
It's more affordable than say trying to trade for Joe Mauer, but it all depends on if Arizona wants to try and shed payroll going forward into the future.