Yankees make a trade for catcher following injuries


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This off-season, injuries have caused the New York Yankees to lose catchers at a crazy fast rate. This has forced them to sign Nick Ciuffo, a left-handed catcher who is 28 years old and has played in the major leagues.

First, the best catcher prospect, Austin Wells, broke a rib and had to miss the whole spring. Ben Rortvedt had surgery to fix an aneurysm in his shoulder that was making one of his fingers hurt.

Even worse, Josh Breaux has hurt his elbow, which means he may not be able to play in spring training either. Since Kyle Higashioka and Jose Trevio were the only healthy MLB-experienced catchers on the Yankees’ roster, they needed to bring in more backup.

Nick Ciuffo was signed by the Yankees on Tuesday afternoon. The Tampa Bay Rays picked him in the first round in 2013, but he has only played in 21 MLB games following too many troubles at the plate.

Before the Yankees got him, Ciuffo played in 42 games for the Chicago White Sox Triple-A team last year. He hit .277 with a .325 OBP, hit five home runs, and drove in 20 runs. With a 96 wRC+, he had a strikeout rate of 31.1% and a walk rate of 5.3%. But the Yankees didn’t sign Ciuffo to help them score runs. Instead, they wanted him to be a great defender who can fill in as a last resort.

In his 414 minor-league games, Ciuffo has thrown out 43% of those trying to steal bases. Ciuffo has some value because he has a good arm and can play catcher, but the Yankees would rather use some of their homegrown players in a different way once they are healthy.

The Yankees had high hopes for players like Austin Wells, who can also hit left-handed and give the Yankees the luxury of getting offensive production from their catcher. He’s not the best defender, but in 2022, he made big improvements in how often he caught people stealing and how many passes he let through.

Ciuffo is likely to get some chances to play during the Yankees spring training over the next few weeks. This would give him some experience and help him fit in with the rest of the team. Most likely, he will start the season in Triple-A.

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