The Yankees have re-signed catcher Rob Brantly to a minor league contract, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Presumably, the Lagardere Sports client will also be in Major League camp when Spring Training commences.
Brantly, 32, spent most of the 2021 season with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate but did appear in six big league games, during which time he went 3-for-20 with a double and four strikeouts. He tallied 264 plate appearances in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, batting .289/.379/.456 with nine homers, nine doubles and a triple.
The well-traveled Brantly has spent time with 10 organizations and seen Major League action with five of them: the Marlins, White Sox, Phillies, Giants and Yankees. He’s never topped 243 plate appearances in a Major League season, however, and hasn’t logged more than 36 big league plate appearances since way back in 2013. Overall, Brantly owns a .224/.287/.324 batting line in 453 trips to the plate as a big leaguer.
Brantly has seen far more action and been much productive in Triple-A, where he carries a lifetime .266/.319/.395 in parts of nine seasons (2171 plate appearances). He’s eligible to sign a minor league deal during the lockout by virtue of the fact that he didn’t finish out the 2021 season on a 40-man roster or the Major League injured list.
Though there was a good bit of public debate on among fans and pundits alike, the Yankees opted to tender a contract to Gary Sanchez, positioning him to reprise his role as the primary backstop. Kyle Higashioka is in line to back Sanchez up, but the Yankees don’t have a third catcher on their 40-man roster and thus were in need of some depth.
Brantly could be just one of multiple eventual additions in that regard, but for now he looks like the top alternative if Sanchez or Higashioka goes down with an injury during the 2022 season. Of course, all of that assumes the Yankees opt to stick with the status quo behind the plate rather than further pursue alternate scenarios once the transaction freeze has been lifted.