1. Gary Sánchez is Staying Put
No, Cashman didn’t outright state that Gary Sánchez will be the recipient of a shiny new four-year deal, nor did he tender him a new contract in front of everyone at the podium just to make Yankee fans’ blood boil.
What he did do, though, was endorse Sánchez’s defensive strides, something we didn’t really see during a 2021 campaign still pockmarked by costly errors and a lower-than-normal caught stealing percentage.
When asked if Sánchez was expected to be the starting catcher in 2022, he also waffled, stating,”We’ll see … ultimately we’ll have to evaluate the marketplace at every position.”
Who wants to bet that, after he’s done evaluating the market, he eventually settles on one more year with the man he called one of the “best offensive catchers in baseball” on Tuesday afternoon?
Two things can be true: Sánchez really struggled and regressed in the second half of 2021, and he’s also one of the best offensive catchers this game has to offer. It’s true. Honestly. It really is.
Who else is out there for us to examine? Tucker Barnhart of the Reds has a similarly-priced, possibly-declined team option. He’s never posted a league-average OPS+; his highest mark is 95, posted in 2017. It’s safe to say he’s a non-factor offensively, and would be better served as Sánchez’s backup despite his elite receiving skills. Who else do we have to sift through? Yan Gomes? Martin Maldonado and his 58 OPS+?
The Yankees can look, as they claimed they would, but they won’t find an obvious improvement on Sánchez. Cashman’s faint praise was enough to assure us they still believe in him.