For several weeks now, Brian Cashman has said over and over again that he’s more than willing to stick with his in-house options at catcher. It just might be time to believe him.
This week, the free agent market’s last standout catcher signed a one-year, $7.5-million contact with the Rangers. A.J. Pierzynski had been the last go-to catcher available after Russell Martin and Mike Napoli came off the board, but the Yankees never showed any sign of interest. Pierzysnki is a primarily offensive catcher coming off a career year, and the Yankees have prioritized defense at the position.
In-house options Chris Stewart, Francisco Cervelli and Austin Romine — as well as recent minor league signee Bobby Wilson — are certainly better known for their gloves than their bats, but none has ever really been a big league regular (Cervelli did start 80 games for the Yankees in 2010, but that certainly wasn’t according to plan).
The best options still on the market are names like Yorvit Torrealba, Rod Barajas and Kelly Shoppach — guys with more experience than the in-house options, but who aren’t sure things to be upgrades.
• Although the Yankees had interest in re-signing Raul Ibanez, the team’s late-season and postseason hero agreed late Saturday night to a one-year deal with the Mariners. Without Ibanez, the Yankees DH spot is still wide open.
• A right-handed outfielder is also a glarring need for the Yankees, and the market’s best option came off the board when Cody Ross signed with Arizona.
• Vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman said that Cesar Cabral and Michael Pineda are each doing long toss in Tampa. Jose Campos is ahead of them, already throwing off a mound and expected to be ready for spring training.
• Right-handed reliever Jim Miller cleared waivers and was sent outright to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. So was left-handed reliever Josh Spence.
• Casey McGehee followed Andruw Jones’ lead and signed a deal to play in Japan.
• Nick Swisher is still looking for a new team, and the Indians are working hard to sign him.
• The Yankees released seven minor leaguers, including moderate prospects Damon Sublett, Yadil Mujica and Ryan Flannery.
• After realizing a math mistakes, Major League Baseball sent the Yankees a new luxury tax bill. The Yankees will pay roughly $400,000 more than originally expected.
• Hiroyiki Nakajima — the Japanese shortstop who the Yankees negotiated with but never signed last winter — signed with the Athletics. Also, the Mariners made a trade for Kendrys Morales and the Blue Jays continued their winter overhaul with a deal for R.A. Dickey.
• Derek Jeter wins the Yankees Good Guy of the Week award for calling the mother of a Sandy Hook Elementary victim to brighten what had to be one of her worst days.
Associated Press photo