3 immediate Yankees trade targets before 2023 season begins
By Adam Weinrib
1. Brett Sullivan, C, San Diego Padres
Had to go for a wild card here; not sure if you've noticed, but there aren't many attractive catchers around anymore!
The Yankees need 40-man depth at the position. Badly. Jose Trevino and Kyle Higashioka will be the defense-first tandem to start the year, and while we believe Trevino's now doing just fine after battling wrist stiffness, you can never be too careful. New York's minor leagues are bereft of active talent here. Ben Rortvedt will (almost definitely) hit the 60-Day IL while he battles the aftereffects of his aneurysm. Defense-first catcher Nick Ciuffo won't provide much if the Yankees move pieces around to accommodate his rise. Carlos Narvaez is probably a level or two away from the bigs, even after a competent spring.
So ... who's left across the baseball landscape? Free agents include Gary Sánchez (bad fit) and Robinson Chirinos (nearly 39). Austin Hedges would be an intriguing defense-first option with a cannon arm ... if he weren't penciled in as the Pirates' starter. Victor Caratini will share duties in Milwaukee. The Braves won't be cutting bait on Travis d'Arnaud ... maybe ever, but definitely not prior to Opening Day. Jorge Alfaro hits bombs, but bombs on defense -- and, besides, the Red Sox aren't trading him here.
We know the Yankees prioritize defense above all else here, but they should probably prioritize bodies right about now. How about the third catcher on the Padres' 40-man roster behind Luis Campusano and Austin Nola? 29-year-old Brett Sullivan hit .285 with a .783 OPS and impressive 81 RBI at Triple-A El Paso last year. While the Pacific Coast League is a haven for inflated offensive numbers, Sullivan showed an impressive nose for runs batted in last year, hitting .421 with the bases loaded and .294 in 143 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Narvaez and a pitching prospect (Trystan Vrieling?) for Sullivan? Call it in.