With thirteen critical games in as many days, the Brewers are going to need all the depth they can get to close out this season. They took a step towards that today by acquiring backup catcher Yorvit Torrealba from the Blue Jays in exchange for cash.
As is the case with most September trades, this isn’t a major acquisition for the Brewers. The 33-year old Torrealba has been a useful cog at various points throughout his career, but has largely been relegated to the life of a nomadic backup – in 59 games between Texas and Toronto this year, he has hit .233/.297/.339 (his career average is .258/.316/.386). As you would expect from the title in the previous sentence, he brings with him a good defensive reputation and strong arm, having thrown out 30% of opposing basestealers for his career. You could probably expect his bat to regress back to his career norms at least a little, given enough time, but that’s not really something that’s relevant with two weeks left in the season.
(Side note: As was noted on the FS Wisconsin broadcast, Torrealba does have a bit of a reputation for putting up crazy postseason numbers – he was a major contributor to 2007 “Rocktober”, and had a very good 2009 NLDS as well. Make of that what you will.)
Regardless of what he does on the field (he’s unlikely to get more than a few at-bats), merely having Torrealba around should be somewhat helpful to the Brewers. With expanded rosters, most teams have three catchers on their roster, and Torrealba should serve as useful insurance for Jonathan Lucroy and Martin Maldonado. Hopefully, Torrealba’s presence will give Ron Roenicke the peace of mind to deploy his other catchers more flexibly, whether through giving the backup pinch-hit opportunities, pinch-running for the starter late in the game, or even giving one or the other the occasional start at first base if Corey Hart’s foot continues to be a problem.