Yankees Rumors: Astros' link to slugging catcher is nightmare for New York

Very casual of MLB insider Jon Heyman to sneak this into a recent column.

Houston Astros v Kansas City Royals
Houston Astros v Kansas City Royals / Jay Biggerstaff/GettyImages
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Despite an overall disappointing collective performance from the Houston Astros in the first half of the 2023 season, they somehow have 50 wins and trail the Texas Rangers by two games for the AL West lead. The New York Yankees are one game worse and are eight back of the Tampa Bay Rays. That's what we call "life," but we won't cry about it like Red Sox fans, who constantly talk about their place in the standings by tracking the progress of the AL Central.

Anyway, the Astros are the defending champions and face an even more favorable track to the division title after Mike Trout's injury and the Rangers' 3-7 slide before the All-Star break.

They're managing to do this without so many key players, too. Jose Altuve has played in only 32 games. Michael Brantley hasn't seen the field yet. Lance McCullers and Luis Garcia are out for the year. Jose Abreu has been terrible. Alex Bregman has barely been average.

That's why when MLB insider Jon Heyman sneaks in a bit about the Astros upgrading at the trade deadline in his most recent column, Yankees fans can't help but punch air.

Heyman thinks there's a chance the Astros make a big move to improve the catcher position, which is currently occupied by Martin Maldonado, who is hitting .172 with a 54 OPS+. Any boost there would drastically help Houston.

Yankees Rumors: Astros a landing spot for Salvador Perez?

Here's what Heyman wrote in a piece about a potential White Sox fire sale:

"Royals All-Star catcher Salvador Perez said he didn’t want to talk about whether he might waive his veto rights to be dealt to a contender, but sources suggest he might consider it for a chance at another ring. The Marlins, Padres and Astros seem like potential fits."

Jon Heyman, NY Post

"Seem like potential fits" doesn't exactly give anything away, but the mere link to Perez, one of the best slugging catchers in MLB despite a bit of a downturn in production this year (let's face it, though, the Royals are dismal), is something that should already concern the Yankees.

Owner Jim Crane might've peed down his leg signing both Rafael Montero and Jose Abreu to laughable contracts, but if there's anytime for the Astros to spend, it's now. Altuve and Bregman will be free agents after 2024. Framber Valdez's prime needs to be maximized, especially in his high-priced arbitration years. Adding Salvy to their payroll would be a weight (he signed a four-year, $82 million extension before the 2022 season), but he'd instantly keep the Astros' window open in lock-step with their other franchise cornerstones.

The Astros once again made a mockery of the Yankees in the postseason last fall and could be primed to do so again, if they get healthy at the right time (and if the Yankees even make it to October). If they manage to import an eight-time All-Star who specializes in slugging and top-notch defense, it'd put Brian Cashman even further behind. He'd have to make two moves to respond to something of that magnitude.

That's why we're hoping there was a reason this was the final standalone (and brief) blurb in Heyman's latest collection of intel.

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