Yankees News: Pete O’Brien May Make The Yankees Regret Trading Him


Last summer, the New York Yankees traded catching prospect Pete O’Brien to the Arizona Diamondbacks for super-utility player Martin Prado, dealing from a position of organizational abundance (catching prospects) in order to buy some versatility at the Major League level as the team limped its way through August and September.

Pete O’Brien was, at the time, the 9th-ranked Yankees prospect according to MLB.com. He fell behind other young catchers Gary Sanchez and John Ryan Murphy on the depth chart, though, and the Yankees felt more than comfortable dealing him for the 30-year old Martin Prado.

Prado tore it up upon arriving in the Bronx, quickly becoming a fan favorite for moments like this one. Meanwhile, O’Brien reported to Arizona’s Double-A affiliate in Mobile, Alabama, and had four brilliant games, hitting .385 in 14 PAs. All in all, O’Brien’s age-23 season saw him hit .270 with 34 home runs and 74 RBIs across two levels of the minor leagues.

While Prado is now in Miami, O’Brien is proving to be more than a half-season rental for Arizona.

In fact, he could end up in the majors as soon as this season, per Chad Jennings of the Lohud Yankees Blog.

In his piece, he details Diamondbacks reporter Nick Piecoro’s comments on O’Brien’s place in the team’s plans.

“In recent weeks, the Diamondbacks have seemingly sped up O’Brien’s timeline. Earlier in the offseason, they were saying he would likely be ready for the big leagues by midsummer. Lately, they’ve been saying it wouldn’t be out of the question for him to break with the team on Opening Day.” 

While O’Brien’s power is as good as it gets at the catching position, his OBP was a mediocre .316 last season, and his defense remains a work in progress.

Fortunately for O’Brien, the only passable catcher on the Diamondbacks’ roster is Tuffy Gosewich, and that’s being generous — Gosewich posted a -.1 WAR last season in only 41 games.

The only category in which O’Brien lags behind Gosewich is “Best Baseball Name”.

It is really a shame that he was traded to a National League team, as he is really more of a DH than a catcher, according to more than a few scouts.

Still, the Diamondbacks are very confident in his abilities behind the dish.

“He’s a great learner,” Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said. “One of the things we were really impressed with in the fall league was his ability to work with different pitchers and earn their trust. You really need to know if your pitchers like to throw to him and feel good throwing to him.”

Bench coach Glenn Sherlock was similarly enthused.

“He’s got some tools,” Sherlock said, “and I think the fact he’s going to be behind the plate, getting consistent playing time at the catcher position will only help things. He’s got good hands and good actions and he’s very determined, and that all adds up to good things.”

The key phrase in that quote is “consistent playing time”. With a total catching talent vacuum in Arizona, O’Brien will get a great chance to play in Spring Training. This opportunity did not exist for him in New York.

With catchers Brian McCann, John Ryan Murphy, Austin Romine, and Gary Sanchez already on the Yankees’ 40-man roster, it’s nice to see the team making trades with expendable young talent — even if the talent that leaves the system ends up succeeding. It looks like O’Brien just might exceed expectations out in Arizona.

Next: Have The Yankees Gambled On Their Biggest Need?

More from Yanks Go Yard

More from Yankees News