“I’m sure [Jesus Montero‘s] gonna want to prove that it’s time for him to catch,” Cashman added. “I’m sure [Austin Romine‘s] gonna want to prove that, ‘Hey, why is Montero getting all the ink, they should be writing about me.’ And I’m sure [Francisco Cervelli] is in the middle of this thing saying, ‘Hey, this is a bunch of crap, because I should be the guy that they’re talking about being the everyday guy. I’ve got more experience than the other two.’ Which creates great competition — that’s what I want. And I wouldn’t even close the door on looking out in the marketplace and see if I can secure somebody else out there as a cushion. … I hope that’ll be a great healthy competition.”
So what gives? Why do we hear one day that the Yankees don’t want a John Buck type and the next day we hear that he’s not closing the door on the marketplace?
Here are my two ideas.
The first is that all Cash is really worried about is making sure that nobody gets complacent. He doesn’t want Montero not busting his ass this winter and in spring training. He doesn’t want Cervelli just thinking that all he has to do is show up and he’s at the very least the backup catcher. He’s even throwing Romine out there because he doesn’t want him to be discouraged with so much talent around him.
After all, there is reason to believe that these guys could be taking things for granted from time to time. Montero came to spring training a little out of shape last season and was even benched for lack of hustling early in the season. There is also talk that people think Cervelli’s defensive skills waned last season because he feels too comfortable with his role on the team. So it’s important to keep these guys on their toes.
The other idea is that the Yankees do intend on signing another catcher. Perhaps a defensive specialist, but not one of Buck’s caliber. They very well could wait until late in the offseason and offer a few strong defensive catchers left on the market a minor league contract. If one is willing to take it the Yankees could be willing to give him a shot as a backup. It’s not a bad plan because at the very least a defensive specialist type could be just one more guy to work with the three young catchers the Yankees will have competing for a job in spring training.