And no, it’s not too soon. It’s not a minority opinion.
A Gary Sanchez trade, especially after the catcher was demoted Tuesday, might actually be the Yankees’ most effective midseason cost-cutting option.
We’re as shocked as you are that, after years of discourse, we really might be at a place where Sanchez’s offensive backslide has moved too far away from his peak for the Bombers’ decision-makers. A slow start by the rest of the roster was arguably the worst thing possible for Sanchez, though.
If the whole lineup is batting .175 and can’t hit fastballs, you can no longer hide.
Sanchez hasn’t been quite the same player since his 2016-17 breakout. In 2018, he hit just 18 homers with a .186 average coming off a 33-homer season that earned him MVP votes. His first half in 2019 earned him another All-Star nod, but an injury-plagued slide back to the margins followed, and his 2020 and ’21 (so far) have featured the absolute worst he can offer.
Late on fastballs, nowhere near breaking balls, and without the vast majority if his trademark power is no way for Sanchez to go through life.
Will he thrive elsewhere after the Yankees finally give up on recovering his 2017 vintage? Possibly. With so many contract extensions up for debate the next few years, though (the line starts at Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres, but doesn’t end there), Sanchez would likely have found himself searching for a new home after 2022 regardless.
The Yankees have put their stake in the ground. Kyle Higashioka catches Gerrit Cole. He catches playoff games. He might catch more often than not down the stretch — or, at least as long as he provides semi-viable offense and a different look at the plate. Higgy needs a platoon partner, not a former All-Star who’s been detrimental for several years now.
If the team does decide to move on from Sanchez permanently in the next few weeks, these destinations and trades make a lot of sense.
These 3 Gary Sanchez trades make sense for the Yankees.
3. Gary Sanchez to the Marlins
Derek Jeter’s Miami Marlins have made a living out of acquiring sluggers who’ve stalled with their previous employer, giving a second chance to Jesus Aguilar, Corey Dickerson and Adam Duvall.
Though they’ve given Jorge Alfaro many opportunities to prove himself the past several years, he’s been nearly as enigmatic as Sanchez, and his recent IL trip has left Miami with a catching tandem of Chad Wallach and Sandy Leon.
So, the question is: does former Yankees Vice President of Player Development Gary Denbo still believe in Sanchez’s potential? Is he a favorite of the ex-Yank, or is he someone Denbo was happy to escape when he took the director of player development and scouting job with Jeter’s Marlins back in 2017?
Could the Yankees trade Gary Sanchez to Derek Jeter’s Marlins?
If Miami is prone to bet on talent here, the Yankees could slap them with Sanchez’s remaining 2021 salary (about $4 million if he’s dealt on June 1), and might be able to plumb the lower levels of the team’s prospect depth. Perhaps 2019 fifth-rounder Evan Fitterer, one of the most polished high school arms in that draft (and a UCLA commit, where the Yankees always gravitate) and outfielder Connor Scott, Miami’s 16th- and 26th-ranked prospects? If the addition of Scott turns this into an overpay, expect the Yanks to shop in the low minors, an area where the 40-man won’t be a concern at all.