The New York Yankees Could Make A Trade Before Opening Day - Sport News

The New York Yankees Could Make A Trade Before Opening Day

There’s a certain romanticism about Opening Day rosters. We spend all of spring training speculating on who will make the cut and who won’t, but the truth is that rosters are never finalized. A player could make the team on Opening Day and be gone by the second game. Front offices are always tweaking.

The New York Yankees Could Make A Trade Before Opening Day

The New York Yankees appear to be in need of a tweak or two before they get too deep into the season, and a pre-Opening Day trade could be in the works. With DJ LeMahieu and Oswald Peraza beginning the year on the injured list, Oswaldo Cabrera will be their starting third baseman and they have no true backup infielder.

Cabrera is a switch-hitting Swiss Army knife who has played every position except pitcher and catcher in his first two years in MLB, but he isn’t much of a hitter. In 330 plate appearances in 2023, he batted .211/.275/.299. His 58 OPS+ indicates he was 42% worse than a league-average batter. The club might be okay with him in a bench role for the time being, and LeMahieu might not be out long-term, but his injury exposes their lack of depth in the infield.

Beyond Cabrera and the other starters—Anthony Rizzo, Gleyber Torres, and Anthony Volpe—they only have two other infielders on their 40-man roster. 26-year-old Jahmai Jones has played exclusively second base in 36 MLB games since 2020, though he has a lot of outfield experience in the minors. He’s most likely to win the backup infield job as the roster currently stands, but he has only one career professional game at third base and none at shortstop.

The other infielder on their 40-man roster is Jorbit Vivas, a prospect acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers this offseason who hasn’t reached the majors yet. Veterans Jeter Downs, Kevin Smith, and Josh VanMeter have been in camp as non-roster invitees.

The bench spot that ought to go to an infielder looks like it could be occupied by a third catcher. The starting tandem will be Jose Trevino and Austin Wells, but Ben Rortvedt is out of minor-league options. In order to demote him to Triple-A, they would have to pass him through waivers and risk him getting claimed by another team.

Trading Rortvedt for an infielder is the logical solution to their unbalanced bench. That requires a trade partner, and on the cusp of the regular season, almost all other teams are set at catcher.

Three ballclubs might still be in the market to upgrade their bench backstop. The Toronto Blue Jays lost Danny Jansen to a fractured wrist a few weeks ago. The Oakland A’s have only one catcher on their 40-man roster, and that’s starter Shea Langeliers—unless you count Tyler Soderstrom, whose future looks to be at another position, and he was optioned to the minors earlier this spring anyway. Finally, the Arizona Diamondbacks could look for an improvement over Tucker Barnhart.

Whether or not Rortvedt is better than any of those three clubs’ current options is debatable. He has a reputation as a good defender, but his left-handed bat provides little offense. If the Yankees keep him, that could mean Wells spends more time at designated hitter or even first base and left field despite not playing those positions since college.

That still wouldn’t solve their infield problem. Even if they hold onto Rortvedt, they need a backup shortstop and third baseman—preferably one who could outhit Cabrera. Keep an eye out for a potential trade in the next 24 hours to shore up the back of their roster.

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