The Winter Meetings are getting into full swing and rumors are starting to pick up, but as they have been for most of the offseason, the Yankees continue to be quiet. We've heard some rumblings about an interest in Asdrubal Cabrera and trading for Jose Fernandez, but nothing has really escalated recently. So far the Yankees have traded for Aaron Hicks and signed Pete Kozma to a minor league deal and that's about it. Now it's looking like they could also be seeking an alternative backup catcher to replace John Ryan Murphy:
Tyler Flowers is said to be deciding between the Yankees, Braves & Rays.— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) December 8, 2015
If the Yankees don't want Gary Sanchez to sit on the bench just yet while Brian McCann plays almost everyday, it would make sense to find someone who could easily slide onto the major league bench. The only other player on the roster who could fit that role is Austin Romine, but the organization doesn't seem to have much interest in him beyond Triple-A fodder. If they were to add Tyler Flowers, it would make Romine expendable and would likely lead to him being designated for assignment again.
Of course, Tyler Flowers isn't much of an addition himself. He has a career .223/.289/.376 batting line over seven years with the Chicago White Sox. For some reason they decided he would make a good starting catcher and proceeded to let him OPS .674 over 239 games in the last two seasons before ultimately non-tendering him this offseason. If the Yankees interested in Flowers over Romine, it's for his glove, as the 29-year-old catcher is considered to be one of the better pitch framers in the game. If we're talking about backup catchers, who only play about once a week, it's probably nice to have a good pitch framer who can steal some strikes for his pitcher, since he won't be doing much with the bat anyway. Beyond framing, Flowers doesn't have much of a presence behind the plate against the running game or pitches in the dirt, so if McCann goes down, it will be Sanchez who will replace him.
Before any of this matters, the Yankees actually have to sign him, though. If he's currently deciding between New York, Atlanta, and Tampa Bay, the Yankees might give him the best chance in the majors. The Rays currently have Rene Rivera, Curt Casali, and the recently acquire Hank Conger to compete with, while the Braves brought in A.J. Pierzynski and have Christian Bethancourt set up behind the plate. If the Yankees don't want Sanchez in the majors just yet, Flowers has the best path to the majors in the Bronx