During this offseason, the Yankees’ catcher “battle” will be one of the more prominent positional competitions to keep an eye on. Barring a free agent addition, which seems unlikely, the Yankees will go into 2011 with three distinctly different catchers, all of whom could have some value to your team. Here they are, in no particular order.
The switch-hitter has been around for a long time, but you already knew that (I hope). While his batting average was poor this year, he was still a top-10 fantasy catcher thanks to his 18 homers. By the time next season ends, Posada will be 40-years old, so will he be able to squat behind the plate more than a couple times a week? I’m doubting it, and the Yankees probably are, as well.
The Yankees used Cervelli to spell Posada this year, and he racked up over 300 trips to the plate in the process. He does a good job of making contact and drawing walks, but a slugging percentage below .340 really limits the damage he can do to an opposing team. He’s a safe option, and the Yanks are going to keep him around because of it.
Montero will always be involved in one of the great “what if” questions for both the Yankees and Mariners after he was almost dealt for Cliff Lee this summer. He has great power for someone who iis still really young, but still has a lot to learn about the defensive side of his position.
In all likelyhood, the Yanks are going to have Posada DH a couple of days a week, in the hopes of keeping up his offensive production. Cervelli will get the playing time behind the plate for the first month or two, as the Yanks try to fine tune Montero’s defense while limiting his service time.
All three of these guys could have some sort of fantasy value, but it could turn out that all three are somewhat worthless depending on how playing time is distributed. While the catchers’ position is the main one to watch, keep an eye out to see if the Yankees bring in a full-time DH for next season. I’d expect New York to keep the DH role fairly open, rotating Posada or Montero through for the majority of the season.