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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 12/27/22

Pondering Yankees’ options for left field; Red Sox listening to offers for Chris Sale; Should the Yankees be concerned at catcher?

Division Series - Cleveland Guardians v New York Yankees - Game Five Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

MLB Trade Rumors | Simon Hampton: The Yankees have a conundrum in left field and no easy path to solving it. Oswaldo Cabrera flashed moments of excitement in his 44-game debut season last year but is still mostly unproven at the plate and in the field while Aaron Hicks cannot be relied upon to remain healthy nor produce when he is.

The free agent market is sparse with David Peralta, Trey Mancini, and Andrew McCutchen as the three most capable remaining options. Bryan Reynolds is an attractive trade target but will likely require a sky-high prospect return while Max Kepler of the Twins and the assortment of Diamondbacks outfielders don’t move the needle much compared to New York’s internal options.

New York Post | Justin Terranova: Surprise news coming out of Boston as it is rumored that teams are checking on Chris Sale’s availability. While the Red Sox are not explicitly shopping any members of their starting rotation, they are at least willing to listen to offers. No specific partner team has been mentioned and it is highly unlikely we would see a significant swap between the rival Yankees and Red Sox.

For what it’s worth, after Xander Bogaerts signed with the Padres, Boston GM Chaim Bloom admitted that the most plausible route for the Red Sox to improve their roster this winter may come via trade. It is hard to assess what teams would be willing to give up for Sale and what type of production they would receive given the laundry list of injuries he’s suffered over the last two-plus years, however it’s not difficult to imagine someone being enticed by the considerable upside he (theoretically) offers.

New York Daily News | Matthew Roberson: While much of the hand-wringing over the Yankees roster centers around left field, shortstop, and third base, Mr. Roberson believes the Yankees should be concerned with catcher heading into 2023. He cites Jose Trevino’s sharp drop-off in offensive production — 103 wRC+ in the first half vs. 77 wRC+ in the second — as worthy of generating apprehension in the Bronx.

However, his unease ignores the clear shift in what the Yankees prioritize from their backstops. They traded away the offensively-superior Gary Sánchez last winter as they looked to become more defensively sound behind the plate and picked up Trevino when Ben Rortvedt ceased to exist. Trevino finished the season as the eighth-most valuable catcher in baseball as he was hands-down the best framer and overall defender of any backstop in the game.