The New York Yankees added one more insurance policy at catcher yesterday claiming San Francisco Giants backstop Eli Whiteside off waivers. Whiteside is a 33-year-old player who has totaled 537 plate appearances in five Major League seasons. His triple slash line of .215/.273/.335 screams ‘day game after night game catcher.’
It looks better and better for Russell Martin and his possible return to the Bronx in 2013. The Yankees are deep at catcher in the minor league system in terms of volume. They do have Gary Sanchez, who turns 20 in December, is probably a couple of years away from being ready to help in the Bigs. Austin Romine will get a chance to be a backup next season and the Yankees still have 2012 backup Chris Stewart and fan-favorite Francisco Cervelli still lingers. The Yankees drafted several catchers in the 2012 First-year player draft including Peter O’Brien in the second round.
Since none of these players, Whiteside included, is remotely good enough or ready for the Bronx, Martin seems to be a good bet to be back this coming season. Other free agents in this year’s class include A.J. Pierzynski and Mike Napoli. Neither of those players seems to be the answer for the team considering Pierzynski’s age and potential cost and Napoli’s role being better with a bat than with the tools of ignorance on.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports mentioned yesterday that the Yankees may have some interest in David Ross who has backed up Atlanta’s Brian McCann the last four years. Ross is intriguing because he has had success as a backup. He provides decent pop and has shown he can play the role of the second catcher without sacrificing offense. From 2009 through 2012 with the Braves, Ross has amassed OPS measures of .888, .871, .761 and .770. Not too shabby. But at 35-years-old, there is no way the Yankees bring him on board to play full time.
Martin, despite his pathetic regular season totals showed some life over the last couple months of the season. He is the youngest of all catchers available via free agency. It is hard for me to see the Yankees trading for anyone who would make a difference knowing that in two years or less they could have Sanchez behind the dish.