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Jose Pirela will get a better chance to play in San Diego. (Cheryl Pursell)

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Scout: Yankees Had to Move a Catcher

The Yankees made a pair of trades Wednesday, Neither are the type that will bring about major change, but it was good to see the club traded from strength.

They really had to move a catcher,” said a scout from a National League team. “We’ll have to see how (Aaron) Hicks turns out. The Yankees will work with him. He has good tools.

Aaron Hicks, who just turned 26 Oct. 2, is an excellent defensive outfielder who hits lefties well. He is likely a replacement for Chris Young, not Brett Gardner. He will work as an excellent defensive replacement in late innings and as a starter against left-handed pitching.

In 247 major-league games, he is a .225 (184-for-819) hitter. He has 20 home runs. He is a switch hitter, but has been dabbling with giving that up. He also has a terrific arm, rated by FanGraohs.com as one of the 15 best in the majors. He was expendable because the Twins want to give top prospect Bryan Buxton a shot at center field

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman talked about how Hicks gives the club “more flexibility” rates him as “an everyday player.”  His athleticism is also what the Yankees are looking for.

The Yankees gave up catcher John Ryan Murphy, who appeared in 67 games with the club in 2015, batting a solid ,277 (43-for-155). He will likely back up Twins starting catcher Kurt Suzuki and is a major upgrade over Josmil Pinto.

Murphy brings an emerging bat to Minnesota, along with his ability to run a game and handle pitchers, who enjoy throwing to him. The feeling was Gary Sanchez was a trade chip, but with signed through 2018, the Yankees may be thinking Sanchez’s game will be complete by then.

While Sanchez’s bat is maturing, he still needs a lot of work as far as running a game and his defense behind the plate are concerned. The Twins likely felt Murphy served their needs better.

Let’s face it, the Yankees had to move a catcher. There still three on the team’s 40-man, as Austin Romine joins McCann and Sanchez. Some also forget Romine’s game, if he is healthy, is not shabby. Romine will likely be the backup catcher in 2016.

Did the Yankees, in swapping Murphy, get a good return. We’ll see with Hicks, who is not even eligible for arbitration until 2017.

As far as the swap with San Diego involving Jose Pirela, who may get to play in the sane infield as 2014 Yankees flash Yangervis Solarte, the Yankees were clearings a spot on their 40-man roster. Pirela, 25, is a great kid who has a solid bat, but failed at shortstop before bing switched to second base.

The previous Yankees farm-system regime, under Mark Newman, really liked Pirela. The present regime not as much. In return for Pirela, the Yankees got 20-year-old right-hander Ronald Herrera, who will likely start 2016 at Double-A Trenton.

Also, the trade confirms Dustin Ackley and Rob Refsnyder will platoon at second base in 2016, unless the Yankees sign 34-year-old Ben Zobrist, who will turn 35 next May.

Cashman commented no player is “untouchable.” These trades were not earth-shattering. The Yankees gave up a decent youbg catcher for a decent young outfielder who can fill a role. As far as trading closer Andrew Miller, we are from Missouri until we see it.

The Hot Stove League is beginning to sizzle.

 

Written By

Have covered the Yankees and their system for over 20 years. I enjoy writing about future Yankees and where a prospect stands in the system. One rule: I only analyze and comment on prospects I have seen play and have talked to.

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