It was all…right there ahead of the New York Yankees. The grand plan. The catching stopgap. The shortstop solution.
They didn’t even really have to act rashly or do anything drastic. The dominoes, as of Monday morning, were simply lining up.
And, in the span of five minutes that afternoon, they all came crashing down, clattering in a line into Brian Cashman’s mouth, waking him from a slumber on the street in a weeks-old sleeping bag.
When we all awoke, ready to finish off the pre-lockout portion of the MLB offseason, it seemed relatively unlikely the Yankees would make a play for a big-money shortstop like Corey Seager, a reality confirmed by the Texas Rangers’ $325 million mega-watt deal.
It did seem possible, though, that the Yankees could shift payroll and priority around with a pair of catching trades, thereby saving some money for a short-term, overloaded offering to Trevor Story or someone else in the uppermost tier (Robbie Ray?).
Gary Sánchez, who must be tendered a contract by Tuesday night if he’s going to be on the 2021 roster, was reportedly on the Marlins’ radar. Conversely, the Yankees were rumored to be interested in Gold Glove-winning Pirates catcher Jacob Stallings. The Yanks and Bucs talk often, as do Brian Cashman and Derek Jeter. It all worked!
Until a few seconds after the Seager news became official, when the Marlins got Stallings instead. Perhaps Cash was distracted screaming at Hal Steinbrenner to loosen his shortstop purse strings? Either way … what?!
Yankees keeping Gary Sánchez after letting Jacob Stallings pass them by?
We know the story by now. Be careful what you wish for on a Sánchez replacement, because no catcher has his offensive ceiling.
Well…he rarely hits that ceiling, and finished 2021 as a below-average hitter (99 OPS+), while Stallings checked in…barely below that number at 92. Factoring in his defensive advantages, you get 3.0 WAR for Stallings and 0.7 for Sánchez. The swap was there to be made, using two crafty deals.
Instead, Miami saved us all the trouble and poached the better half.
Now, if the Yankees don’t want to pay Sánchez 8.5 million to play out the final year of his deal, their only other options are a Willson Contreras trade or a long-shot Mitch Garver swap. The other, more appealing catching options are gone — and, besides, wouldn’t cutting bait on Sánchez in his final year for nothing after sitting on his declining body of work for four years be the most Yankees move of all?
If not…there’s always Steve Cohen and Billy Eppler’s Mets, who have reportedly shown interest in The Other Sanchize in the past.
Gary Sánchez, Matthew Boyd…man, the Mets really are the new Yankees.
And the Pirates and Marlins really are our new enemies. Feels wonderful.