With Russell Martin now a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the New York Yankees will have to find someone to help fill the void. The free agent market is pretty thin with Geovany Soto being non-tendered and joining free agents A.J. Pierzynski and Mike Napoli.
The Yankees haven’t shown an interest in Pierzynski or Napoli because of the suspected price tags that are associated with them. The Yankees didn’t even want to match the $17 million over two years that Martin got from the Pirates.
Soto is an interesting option. He is 29 years-old, and has a couple of good years behind him with his best season coming in 2008 when he hit .285/.365/.504 with 23 home runs and 86 RBI. His average has slipped from .280 in 2010 to .228 in 2011 and .198 in 2012.
He still has some pop and could be looking for a make-good contract for one year. Soto is pretty good on defense, throwing out base stealers at a 26 percent clip for his career. Martin, in contrast, throws runners out at a 30 percent clip.
Soto wouldn’t be an ideal fit but he wouldn’t be a terrible fit either. He would be inexpensive which would make him low-risk, high-reward player just like Martin was a couple of years ago when the Yankees signed him.
Soto is better than any catcher currently on the Yankees 40man roster. Right now, Chris Stewart, Francisco Cervelli, and Austin Romine are the only catchers on the 40-man with Eli Whiteside stashed away at AAA. Romine might have the biggest upside of any of the catchers but he missed a large majority of last season with a bad back.
The Yankees could do a lot worse than Soto and, as a free agent, would allow the Yankees to hold onto their prospects. Either way, there should be plenty of MLB rumors about the Yankees and their catching situation.