The New York Yankees had an interest in Michael Morse, but now Morse has been traded from the Washington Nationals to the Seattle Mariners in a three-team deal that saw the Oakland Athletics acquire John Jaso while sending some pitching prospects to the Nationals.
To make room for Jaso, the Athletics designated catcher George Kottaras for assignment and the Yankees should take a long look at Kottaras given their lack of depth at the position. Russell Martin is now catching for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli are the top two catchers with the Yankees right now, with Austin Romine as a longshot possibility.
None of those names instill any fear into opposing pitchers. Stewart is decent enough defensively but his offense is, well, non-existent. He is out of options so he could be the Yankees backup catcher regardless of who makes the roster as a starter.
Cervelli was the victim of having options last season and his roster spot is far from a guarantee. He will play for Italy in the World Baseball Classic which means he will be away from the eyes of Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman while Austin Romine and Bobby Wilson soak up that playing time.
Again, the Yankees’ catching situation hardly looks stable and with a player like Kottaras available it wouldn’t hurt for the Yankees to take a flier on him. Kottaras is a left-handed hitter with some power, at least more than Cervelli and Stewart. He is very good at taking walks and he ranks as average to above average on defense but he is terrible against would-be base stealers, throwing out 24-of-126 base stealers. That is just 16 percent.
The one drawback to Kottaras is he cannot hit left-handed pitching. He has hit .194/.336/.323 against lefties while hitting .226/.315/.436 against righties. Out of his 24 career home runs, 21 have come against right-handers in 468 at-bats. Given his success against right-handers, his lefty bat, Yankee Stadium’s short porch, and the Yankees need for catching help, this is a deal that makes too much sense. Oh, and he is also 29 but will turn 30 in May but is under team control through 2015. Yes, Kottaras makes a lot of sense for the Yankees.