Yankees: Will Robinson Chirinos comeback affect Gary Sanchez?


Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, as always, remains polarizing.

Recently stripped of his full-time catching duties and sent into a semi-platoon with Kyle Higashioka, Sanchez has stopped hitting for power since the first week of the season and continues to strike out at elevated rates and struggle behind the plate.

He’s also walking at a remarkable rate, OBP’ing .324 while hitting just .180, indicating he’s seeing the ball well but still failing to strike it.

Every day, we wake up more and more confused about the man who went from an All-Star and future MVP to someone who now struggles with a fastball while spitting on breakers and hustling hard to first on every soft grounder.

If only the Yankees had two viable veteran catchers instead of one to make any decision to trade Sanchez a bit easier…

Well, welcome back, Robinson Chirinos, whose recovery from a spring training wrist fracture was remarkably quick, and is likely about to become a bigger story in Bronx Bomber circles.

Will Robinson Chirinos’ Yankees return expedite Gary Sanchez’s departure?

Chirinos, who was out “indefinitely” after being struck by a pitch this spring, is already getting himself into game action at the Alternate Site, which is certainly…shocking to learn.

He’s not a former All-Star like Sanchez. He’s not someone with a well-known pedigree. He did, however, start and play 114 games for an American League champion in 2019, platooning with Martin Maldonado and socking 17 home runs. In fact, prior to 2020, he spent the past three seasons smacking 17, 18, and 17 dingers, which is not at all embarrassing.

Defensively, he’s not the same force as Highashioka; his framing routinely rates as below average, and he’s no staunch improvement on Sanchez in that respect. He is, however, a perfectly capable backup, doesn’t cost over $6 million, and could be insurance if the Yankees choose to move The Kraken to another supposed contender.

After all, this is now Year 4 of the Sanchez Roller Coaster following an excellent 2017 season. The sample size is no longer small.

Will Sanchez find himself exiled soon? We can’t be sure, but he’s certainly been less essential to the Yankees this season, and with his appearances in the lineup typically come struggles from the remainder of his teammates (New York is just 6-12 when starting Sanchez this season).

Chirinos’ return at the very least provides valuable insurance, whether in Scranton or the Bronx.