Catchers Jorge Posada and Francisco Cervelli were each among the league’s worst defensive catchers. So there has been some thought that the Yankees, who are on the verge of calling up another defensive liability in Jesus Montero, might look to sign veteran backstop John Buck as insurance.
That doesn’t look to be the case. Here is more from Joel Sherman of the NY Post:
The chase of [Cliff] Lee also has something to do with the Yanks’ decision to try to go with two young catchers next year from among Jesus Montero, Francisco Cervelli and Austin Romine. It is crazy at moments like this — when the Yanks are deciding on mega-contracts for Lee, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera — to suggest they have a payroll. But under Hal Steinbrenner they do. He has been strict in the recent past about them heading into a season at around $200 million and I cannot imagine that is going to change.
So one area the team can save is by adding two near minimum wage catchers to the payroll. When I asked several Yankee officials about chasing a free agent such as John Buck, they put it at extremely doubtful because 1) They don’t see how it fits into the budget. 2) They want to give a real chance for their young catching to emege in 2011 and having a veteran present would likely move the clubhouse and the manager to go with the sure thing to begin the season.
This is a risky move because when 2010 was all said and done perhaps the biggest loss the team experienced from the 2009 season was Jose Molina. Without him they didn’t have a defensive catcher to help the pitching staff, but they didn’t have the steady presence that A.J. Burnett desperately needed.
Despite that the Yankees do have plenty of options on the table for 2011 already. It seems as if the job is Montero’s to lose. He is desperate to become a catcher and may work his tail off given the opportunity and open some eyes in doing so. After him there is Cervelli who will have to work hard to keep Romine in the minors.
Finally their last line of defense would be Romine himself. If both Montero and Cervelli prove to be inadequate behind the plate they can call up Romine and give him a chance.
There is always the option to add a catcher midseason if things get really bad. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, but it doesn’t seem like you need to add a veteran catcher right now.