1. Yadier Molina
Once upon a time, rumors connected the Yankees to St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina. He was a free agent for the first time in forever (?) and apparently wasn’t happy with the way contract talks were progressing with the team he had spent his entire career with.
Look, this would’ve required a lot. And we know that. Yadi would’ve cost a decent amount (he’s making $9 million this year) and the Yankees would’ve had to make a bold move in non-tendering Gary Sanchez. But that move would’ve saved them over $6 million. They could have had Yadi for just a few million more.
Whether you believe in Sanchez or not, he’s an injury-prone catcher who has very obviously regressed since his first 175 games in the bigs. His defense hasn’t improved. He’s not a clutch hitter. He was heading into 2021 under a microscope and it’s gone as expected — not good at all.
Sanchez is slashing .202/.327/.379 with 16 runs scored, 6 home runs and 13 RBI. And we’re sitting here extremely encouraged whenever he puts together a tough at-bat. Yes, that’s where we are. A player who was supposed to be a franchise, game-breaking catcher is now getting pats on the back for working the count and swinging through the ball.
As for Yadi? .284/.313/.511 with 18 runs scored, 7 home runs and 26 RBI. And he’s one of the most respected veterans/leaders in the game. That would’ve undoubtedly helped the Yankees’ clubhouse, which seems to lack an influential voice (we say “seems” because media members haven’t been in the locker room since 2019).
Instead, the Yankees are platooning Sanchez and Kyle Higashioka, both of whom are hitting .200. Higgy’s defense has begun to show some cracks, too. Great, just what we needed!
With a pitching staff that badly needs assistance from its catchers — young options in Montgomery, German, King and Garcia definitely need guidance while Kluber and Taillon need to get back on track after long layoffs — Molina would have been the perfect acquisition … and for so many other reasons, too.