Yankees: Aaron Boone Defends Gary Sanchez Against Unfair Criticism
By Adam Weinrib
Gary Sanchez deserves a break, says Yankees manager Aaron Boone.
It’s possible that New York Yankees fans will never understand what they have with Gary Sanchez until it’s gone.
But perception often becomes reality, and it seems the prevailing thought surrounding the most explosive catcher in baseball is that his defensive deficiencies prevent him from being a top-tier MLB player. Couple that with his perceived “lack of clutchness,” and a good portion of Yankees fans have already turned on El Gary.
Luckily, Aaron Boone is here to defend the All-Star slugger, telling Brandon Steiner in an online discussion sponsored by online ticket marketplace Tick Picks that the reaction to Sanchez is “unfair” and that most don’t know what goes on behind the scenes.
“He’s gotten a lot better on the defensive side,” Boone said, “and there’s still so much room for him to continue to grow.” New York’s manager also called a lot of the public opinion “unfair ire,” and called out sports journalists for not doing enough to highlight the defensive strides Sanchez has made.
However, it’s important to note that two things can be true.
Sanchez is the best-hitting catcher in the game…during the regular season, and when healthy. And no matter how many defensive strides he makes, his bat will always be his calling card, and every critique of his hit tool will loom larger, since he’ll always be offense-first.
Therefore, it is unacceptable to hit .186 in a full season, as Sanchez did in 2018. It’s not enough to never eclipse .200 in a postseason series, seeming eminently solvable in New York’s recent Octobers, flailing at sliders low and away while facing off against MLB’s best.
This doesn’t count, of course — David Price was involved.
Sanchez is a powerful hitter with a rocket arm who needs his manager to stand behind him in moments of public scrutiny. But if we’re going to ignore the passed balls and errors behind the plate, two categories he’s led MLB in twice each, then the bat is going to have to come to play in October, and he’s going to have to learn how to guard against groin ailments and the like.
While fans must be fair, the ire may occasionally be deserved.