The Yankees finally got their “white whale.”
Now they may be chasing his personal catcher.
After landing Gerrit Cole with a record nine-year, $324 million contract, the Yankees are interested in adding Martin Maldonado, according to MLB.com.
Maldonado was traded to the Astros in the middle of last season and caught Cole 10 times, and in those 10 games the ace recorded a 1.57 ERA and .471 opponent’s OPS. Pitching to the Astros’ other three catchers in 2019, Cole had a 2.82 ERA and .627 opponent’s OPS in 23 games.
The Yankees are in the market for a backup catcher behind Gary Sanchez with Austin Romine being a free agent. Kyle Higashioka is the other backstop on the Yankees’ 40-man roster.
Last season — which he split with the Royals, Cubs and Astros — Maldonado hit .213 with a .671 OPS. But the 33-year-old is known more for his defense and work with pitchers.
“Back to the communication, like we’re — and this is not to exclude [the other catchers], I think, obviously, he protects the running game quite well, which is why he’s the manager’s preference,” Cole said in October. “He’s so fun to work with, the communication that we have. We’re very honest with each other.’’