TAMPA — On a day when Kyle Higashioka went deep two more times, the Yankees made another trade for catching depth, acquiring Jose Trevino from the Rangers in exchange for once-promising right-hander Albert Abreu and minor league lefty Robert Ahlstrom, a 2021 draft pick.
Trevino, 29, gives the Yankees another above average defender behind the plate without much offense.
Trevino is entering his fifth year in the majors and had a meager .607 OPS in 302 plate appearances last season.
His arrival gives them another option to back up Higashioka, as recently acquired Ben Rortvedt is out with an oblique injury and won’t be ready for the start of the season.
The 24-year-old Rortvedt came to the Yankees in the deal with Minnesota that also brought Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa in exchange for Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela.
Both Trevino and Rortvedt have options left and can be sent to the minors.
Abreu was out of options, meaning he couldn’t be sent down without clearing waivers. The 26-year-old was once considered a top prospect, but hadn’t sustained any success in the majors.
They’re still waiting for Higashioka to find consistent success, as well.
He continued his hot spring in Saturday’s 10-0 rain-shortened win over Atlanta at Steinbrenner Field.
Higashioka has a team-high seven homers in just nine Grapefruit League games.
“I mean, let’s bring some of those north [to New York] now,’’ Aaron Boone said of Higashioka’s power surge.
Even with Trevino, the Yankees will lean on Higashioka.
Spring training success is not necessarily a good indicator for regular season performance, but Boone noted that Higashioka hit 10 homers in 211 plate appearances last season and has shown flashes of offensive production at times throughout his career.
“We’ve seen glimpses of this,’’ Boone said. “The power shouldn’t surprise you, [but] seven [homers] is a little bit crazy. We’re seeing him use the whole field with power. Not that we haven’t seen him go the other way, but it’s gone to another level.”
The key for Higashioka, according to Boone, is making that production last.
“Now it’s about being more consistent and being a tough out against right-handed pitching,’’ Boone said.
In 2021, Higashioka had an OPS of just .558 versus righties, with a .791 OPS against lefties.
Rortvedt is a left-handed hitter, which could lead to something of a platoon, but the 24-year-old hasn’t shown that he can hit in the majors.
And they’re still counting on some progression from Higashioka.
“He’s in a good spot,’’ Boone said. “He’s confident. We need him.”