An all-too-common theme surrounding the New York Yankees‘ front office in recent years is general manager Brian Cashman’s willingness to cling to a player or prospect only to watch their value diminish to the point where the only option is to ride out the remaining time together or make a trade for pennies on the dollar.
Though the Mike Tauchman-Wandy Peralta trade ended up working out better than we could’ve ever imagined (props, Cash!), we’ve witnessed this in full force with Clint Frazier, Miguel Andújar, Mike Ford, Adam Ottavino, Jonathan Holder and others — whether they were kept for too long or traded for well below their previous value.
Frustrating, isn’t it, especially since it was obvious some of these players were never going to be long-term Yankees? It falls into that narrative that Cashman needs to be extra careful with player development and trades because of how he’s limited financially in free agency.
The trend has continued, but thankfully not as egregiously as those past examples. Still, can this just simply not happen as much as it has?
It’s important to remember there’s a “Yankees Tax” in trade discussions, so Cashman’s already dealing with some sort of handicap on that front. That should excuse only a handful of instances, though, and not the same behavior over and over again.
With regard to the 2022 roster, the Yankees are carrying a few players that fall under this umbrella. Could’ve gotten rid of them at a higher price. Could’ve signed better free agents. Could’ve just cut bait when it was obvious things weren’t working out.
3 Yankees players that have become depreciated trade assets
3. Gary Sánchez
Gary Sánchez stan or not, there’s simply no way to argue he’s been “the best hitting catcher in baseball” since 2017. He’s since missed extensive time due to injuries while failing to improve his defense and regressing at the plate.
His 2021 “rebound” could be viewed positively, sure, but the output was nowhere near what’s truly expected of him. Could be the fans’ fault for still hoping for sky-high potential, but that’s what happens when your first 175 games are unbelievable and your next 361 are below average.
The Yankees had a window here, too. After the 2019 season, they could have rid themselves of Sánchez, whose offense at that point was proving to be wildly inconsistent. The defense? It came to the point in 2020 when the team’s ace didn’t want El Gary catching his starts. Not surprising that happened, however.
We’re not sure why the Bombers wouldn’t have shopped Sánchez when he had three years of club control left that were featuring escalating prices. He’s now set to make almost $8 million in 2022 and he no longer possesses a differentiating characteristic that separates him from most of the game’s other backstops.
His arm is no longer what it was. He still strikes out a ton. His power is “there” but then abruptly disappears for long, interminable stretches. And he hasn’t been playing in the team’s most important games over the last two seasons since he doesn’t catch Gerrit Cole.
Now, Sánchez is nearly untradeable because almost no team wants to pay that much money for a catcher who’s only appeared in more than 120 games once in a single season in addition to the fact the Yankees can’t get much of anything in return here.
Still rooting for El Gary to turn it around heading into a contract year and rediscover his form. Just not sure we’d bet on it. Remember when he was part of a three-way JT Realmuto/Noah Syndergaard rumor?