Texas sends Trevino to Yanks for 2 pitchers

April 3rd, 2022

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers' backup catcher situation has been settled. The club announced Saturday that it acquired right-handed pitcher and left-handed pitcher Robby Ahlstrom from the New York Yankees in exchange for catcher Jose Trevino.

Rangers acquire: RHP Albert Abreu, LHP Robby Ahlstrom
Yankees acquire: C Jose Trevino

Manager Chris Woodward also announced that would make the roster as the backup catcher. A trade centering around either Trevino or Heim had been anticipated since the Rangers acquired Mitch Garver from the Twins on March 12. Trevino said he wasn’t surprised by the trade, but tried not to think ahead as he competed for the backup catcher position throughout the spring.

Both Heim and Trevino are elite framers and receivers behind the plate, but with Heim being a switch-hitter, he may have a tick higher of a ceiling than Trevino at the plate, Woodward said.

In 2021, Heim posted an .597 OPS, while Trevino's was .607 as the two split time behind the plate.

“There were a lot of conversations we had with our staff,” Woodward added. “[Heim] is at the upper echelon of the talent in the league as far as catcher goes. He's big, he's tall, he's a great receiver. He works hard back there. He's a switch-hitter who showed some power last year and showed a ton of ability. Now he hasn't put it all together. He’s got to prove it.”

The Rangers also have depth at catcher in Triple-A should Garver or Heim go through injuries. No. 11 prospect Sam Huff, as well as Yohel Pozo and Meibrys Viloria all have made big league appearances within the last two years. Huff is already on the 40-man roster.

President of baseball operations Jon Daniels said the Rangers had been fielding calls on both Heim and Trevino since acquiring Garver, but the Yankees stood out because Texas would get two pitchers in return.

“One for now and one for later, so to speak,” Daniels said. “Abreu we think can fill a role on our club in the short term. But we also see him as someone that has the ability to be a long-term piece of the 'pen. Robby Ahlstrom is a really interesting guy. We did a lot of work on the Draft. He's a left-handed starter with a good mix and outstanding makeup.”

Abreu is out of options and will be added to the Rangers’ 40-man roster. He’ll work mainly as a multi-inning option out of the bullpen.

The right-hander made his MLB debut in 2020 and posted a 5.15 ERA with 35 strikeouts over 36 2/3 relief innings with the Yankees in '21, which was his first extended big league action. Though he came through the Minors as a starter, he’s been exclusively in the bullpen since making his debut.

Abreu made four Grapefruit League appearances for the Yankees and didn't allow a run or a walk in 4 2/3 innings.

“His stuff played up significantly [since moving to the bullpen],” Daniels said. “He’s had a really good spring. Unfortunately, the reality is Spring Training this year, really good means like five innings. But he looked very good. It's kind of a traditional power, back-of-the-bullpen type mold. There's some similarities, I think, to Dennis Santana. Three-pitch mix, fastball, slider, changeup. I’m excited to see our pitching coaches work with him.”

With Abreu on the 40-man, the Rangers still have bullpen decisions to make with less than a week until Opening Day. With Brock Burke confirmed to make the roster, one of Matt Bush, Nick Snyder and Greg Holland will likely be the odd man out.

Ahlstrom has yet to make his professional debut, but was the Yankees’ seventh-round selection in the 2021 Draft out of the University of Oregon. He was teammates with Rangers 2021 second-rounder Aaron Zavala. Ahlstrom was a first-team All-Pac-12 Conference selection after posting a 2.50 ERA and 92 strikeouts over 90 innings for the Ducks. He’ll likely break camp with Single-A Down East.

“We did a lot of work on him during the Draft,” Daniels said. ”Our scouts saw quite a bit of both [Ahlstrom and Zavala]. Aaron as well as our scouts just absolutely raved about his makeup and his competitiveness, so it’s exciting.”