Yankees catching prospect Ben Rortvedt has a finger injury that has kept him from baseball activities. Brendan Kuty of The Athletic added that Rortvedt is consulting a specialist.
It’s a tough blow for Rortvedt, who missed 48 minor league games last year due to knee surgery. The Twins traded him to New York along with Josh Donaldson and Isiah-Kiner Falefa last year. In return, the Yankees sent Gio Urshela and Gary Sanchez to Minnesota.
Unfortunately for both sides, it looks like neither team has won this trade. On the Minnesota side, Urshela was traded to the Angels in November and Sanchez is a free agent. In New York, Donaldson was a shell of himself last year despite elite defense at third base. Kiner-Falefa is fighting for his job at shortstop.
Rortvedt, meanwhile, looks like another workout warrior who can’t stay off the training table.
The good news is that in the short-term, the Yankees are fine. Gold Glove-winner Jose Trevino and veteran backup Kyle Higashioka are in their contract years. Prospect Austin Wells’ rib injury is disappointing, but not devastating. He’ll start the year in the minors no matter what.
Long-term, however, the Yankees might need to think twice about Rortvedt, even as team voice Michael Kay claims they “really like” the young backstop. Higashioka is almost 33 and only getting more expensive as a career backup. This year was an opportunity for someone like Ben Rortvedt to flash his upside and earn an Opening Day roster spot.
Finding a backup catcher post-Higashioka will be easy enough, whether it’s Rortvedt or somebody else. Trevino might even be able to earn a short-term contract to stick around while Wells develops. It’s not as though the Yankees need to panic about the team’s future at the position.
But trades are judged by their aftermath and in terms of this one, neither the Twins nor Yankees won out. Hopefully, Rortvedt proves to be more than just the throw-in to the deal.
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