The thing about speculating about baseball all offseason long is that, even when you feel like you’re right, you can be spectacularly wrong. Sometimes, Brian Cashman is better at this than the average layperson, a reality no Yankees fan wants to acknowledge while crying in their soup about Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
In this particular instance, Cashman passed on a very popular under-the-radar trade target while acquiring a different (and seemingly more irrelevant) player to fill his role just before Opening Day. And guess what? The one the Yankees dealt for is an All-Star, and the one they passed on might be the worst player in baseball. Oh!
Annoyance was understandable when the Miami Marlins, of all teams, heeded the call and jumped the line to pry catcher Jacob Stallings away from the Pittsburgh Pirates. At the time, Stallings was seen as a long shot for the Yankees only because it seemed unlikely they’d actually go as far as to part ways with Gary Sánchez. A Stallings trade preceded a Sánchez deal by three months; though the Red Sox were in the hunt, the Marlins won the bidding for the Pirates backstop, surrendering some former top-pick talent, but nothing that broke the bank.
How could Cash possibly have gotten outbid here? Didn’t he have some middling 40-man roster fodder to throw around? And who were the Marlins to think they deserved to be competing for Stallings’ Gold Glove and his (ahem) 91 OPS+ in 2021?
Well … it turns out the Yankees uncovered an All-Star in Jose Trevino four months later, while Stallings has excelled only in falling as far to the bottom of the league as possible.
Yankees’ Jose Trevino thriving while Jacob Stallings struggles with Marlins
Yes, while Stallings remains the starting catcher in Miami, he’s subtracted a full win from his near-.500 team, which is not what you want. If the Yankees had paired a 40 OPS+ bat with Kyle Higashioka and called it a catching platoon, you’d have Bleacher Creatures building a human ladder up to Brian Cashman’s office window to scream obscenities.
Instead, the Yankees planned to roll with Ben Rortvedt and Higashioka to fill Sánchez’s shoes (turns out they were open to dealing him after all!), but swung a deal for Trevino for depth purposes as Rortvedt’s oblique issues lingered.
All the ex-Ranger did upon arrival just before Opening Day was establish himself first as a folk hero, then as one of the two or three best catchers in the American League, for which he’s earned his All-Star stripes.
Is Trevino a long-term solution or a curiosity during the Yankees’ storyline-packed 2022 season? For now, enjoy the ride and thank your lucky stars Stallings wasn’t the selection.
OK, it’s also fair to be bummed the Red Sox couldn’t outbid Miami while dumping Christian Vázquez in the process. Damn, that would’ve been fun, too.