Yankees star catcher Gary Sanchez did a great job responding to his failures.
Every Yankees fan has spent this offseason using their reserves of non-DJ LeMahieu-related energy to focus squarely on the area behind home plate.
Sanchez chose to address his faults from 2020 in a tell-all interview with Marly Rivera for ESPN that dropped Monday, and however you feel about the catcher’s repetitive negative tendencies, he’s certainly not running from his problems these days.
There was a lot to process here regarding what, exactly, Sanchez intends to do to get better, and whether or not he still has a firm enough grasp on his current problems.
But there was also a lot to like from the undoubtedly-talented player who’s become an unnecessary scapegoat far too often.
Most specifically, Sanchez’s reaction to being called “lazy” by vitriolic members of this fan base is excellent, by any metric, and should put that gibberish to bed.
However, there still remains a question of whether all of Sanchez’s work is headed in the right direction.
He’s undoubtedly committed to rejuvenation, having taken himself down to LIDOM in order to work on getting better, a step that most men in his position wouldn’t take. But he still doesn’t seem to fully grasp the reasoning behind his playoff benching.
Portions of that blame can be placed on the team — after all, their logic seemed to flip by the day. But one has to hope Sanchez is aware that the reactionary decision was based on his 2020 performance, which wasn’t acceptable.
"It was something that had never happened to me in my career, whether in the minors or in the majors. When they benched me during the regular season, it was explained to me that I would catch one day and have a day off or catch two days and then have a day off to rest, [to] work on things.Then the playoffs came along, and you start getting excited and you have all that adrenaline. I already felt I was in better form and I had so much desire to contribute to the team, to finally do something, which I did not do in the regular season. Feeling like I couldn’t contribute was very hard. I always kept supporting my team. But the reality is, they never told me why I was benched. I didn’t know why I wasn’t playing."
We hoped for Sanchez to show off ability he hadn’t displayed in the regular season, but of course, there was no indicator that would happen. There’s no metric for an adrenaline increase.
Sanchez clearly walked the walk this offseason, taking his training regimen to new heights in an effort to correct his mechanical wavering.
And when 2021 opens, we’ll learn more about the 2020 playoff benching and whether it served as an inflection point and moment of realization for the two-time All-Star.