Yankees strike trade with Marlins before Opening Day to address infield

Houston Astros v Miami Marlins
Houston Astros v Miami Marlins / Rich Storry/GettyImages

UPDATE: It's a three-team trade with the Rays, and the Yankees have sent catcher Ben Rortvedt to Tampa as well as No. 28 prospect John Cruz to the Marlins.

As the New York Yankees exited spring training, their 2024 roster had yet to be finalized. There are five (5) catchers on the 40-man roster (and three on the active roster as of right now). Their infield badly needed depth following injuries to DJ LeMahieu and Oswald Peraza.

Fans figured corresponding moves were coming to address the issues, but nobody had a clue as to what they may be. On Wednesday afternoon, Brian Cashman cashed in on a trade with the Miami Marlins to provide a clearer picture.

The Yankees are reportedly acquiring infielder Jon Berti from Miami in what seems to be a move that will make the Yankees more athletic and pesky at the plate.

Berti had a career year in 2023, hitting .294/.344/.405 with 53 runs scored, 7 homers, 33 RBI and 16 stolen bases in 133 games. The year prior, he led the league in stolen bases with 41 across just 102 games.

As recently as 2023, he's logged defensive reps at shortstop (64 games), third base (41 games), left and right field (19 games), and second base (15 games). Can't complain with that versatility, even though his defense could use some refining.

Yankees News: Jon Berti acquired in trade with Marlins before Opening Day

One would have to imagine this squeezes Jahmai Jones off the Opening Day roster because of how notable of an upgrade Berti is. How about it?! Trades with a purpose!

Berti, heading into his age-34 season, is a former draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays (18th round back in 2011). He's signed through the 2024 season and will be making $2.125 million. Based on his performances the last two years, there's a realistic possibility he takes playing time away from Oswaldo Cabrera and Oswald Peraza (when he eventually returns).

This spring, Berti struggled a bit, hitting .229 with a .696 OPS and 12 strikeouts in 35 at-bats, but it's hard to believe that showing is what inclined the Marlins to move him. Miami has added infielders Tim Anderson and Jake Burger dating back to last year and possess a lot of flexibility and versatility on their roster.

Berti's presence on the Yankees' bench will give them the necessary reinforcement to address any further infield holes, and his ability to play shortstop helps ease a lot of concerns. Turns out, Cashman had a plan as fans watched the other veteran free agents get scooped up rather quickly.

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