Though there’s only one of them I have any legit interest in.
While scouting and trade rumors are two entirely different things, the New York Post reported that the White Sox had scouts in attendance to check out some of the Yankees backup catchers on Tuesday. There is no sourced reporting in the story, but the Post suggests that the Yankees could be interested in Gordon Beckham.
The Yankees just signed Brian McCann to a five-year, $85 million deal this winter, which means they’ve got quite a surplus at the position right now. What they don’t have is a lot of infield depth, as Derek Jeter is preparing for his farewell tour, Alex Rodriguez is busy doing whatever the hell Alex Rodriguez is doing these days (it’s not playing baseball), and guys like Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson are looking at a whole hell of a lot of at bats this year. Which isn’t a situation a team like the Yankees — or any team, really — wants to be in. Especially considering that Brian Roberts is 36 and hasn’t played more than 77 games in any season since 2009. In fact, he’s only played 192 games the last four years.
If you were looking at the possibility of that man being your replacement for Robinson Cano, you’d probably have some interest in Gordon Beckham too. Maybe even a Conor Gillaspie or Jeff Keppinger, seeing that Johnson can play second base as well.
And if you’re the White Sox looking to go through another season depending on the likes of Tyler Flowers, Josh Phegley and maybe Adrian Nieto, you’d be interested in the Yankee backups.
Now, of the three possibilities — Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine and J.R. Murphy — the only one I’d have legit interest in is Cervelli. Of the three he’s had the most experience in the Majors, and he’s still only 27 years old. Frankly, I’m more interested in an upgrade at catcher than I am a prospect.
Cervelli isn’t a great catcher, but in 623 PA over the last six seasons he’s put up a respectable line of .271/.343/.367. Well, all right, the slugging isn’t exactly respectable. His career OPS+ is only 90.
Still, it’s the OBP that interests me. He’s shown the ability to do so, even without power.
Compare those numbers to Tyler Flowers’ .279 career OBP and Josh Phegley’s .223, and, well, the improvement in that area is rather obvious, isn’t it?
The real question is would a price of Gordon Beckham be worth it for an upgrade at the catcher position, but not exactly an upgrade. My initial thoughts are, yeah, it just might be. I have nothing against Gordon Beckham, and like a lot of White Sox fans the last few seasons, I’ve sat around waiting, hoping he would figure it out. Thinking that each day might be the day we saw the Gordon Beckham of his rookie season return.
It hasn’t happened, and at this point I’m fairly certain it’s not going to. Like Cervelli, he’s 27, and while there’s a chance he could break out, it’s a risk I’m willing to take. We didn’t get the chance to see a lot of Marcus Semien last year, but I didn’t entirely hate what I saw, either.
No, his line of .261/.268/.406 wasn’t good, and it certainly wasn’t nice to see him draw one walk in 71 PA while striking out 22 times. That being said, that’s a trend that went against everything Semien has been in the minors, where he had a line of .274/.372/.456. Only an idiot would expect that kind of production from him in Chicago, but I certainly think he’ll improve on what he did in his short stint last season.
And if he doesn’t, he doesn’t. Odds are the Sox would just find themselves in the same position they would have been with Beckham, but with an upgrade at catcher along the way.
So if I were Rick Hahn and the Yankees said I could have Cervelli for Beckham straight up, I’d take it.
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