Gary Sánchez is no longer a member of the New York Yankees. Fans undoubtedly wish him well for the remainder of his career, but there’s no denying the reality of the situation: Sánchez was just no longer good — or at least adequate enough for the expectations placed upon him and/or what the Yankees were trying to accomplish.
Unfair? Perhaps. Playing in New York is never easy. But Sánchez also did himself no favors with his mental gaffes, body language and regression in the batter’s box, which was his claim to fame. And after the acquisition of Gerrit Cole, it became obvious there was no place for Sánchez if he wasn’t going to be tasked catching the team’s ace in the most important games.
Once again, the Yankees waited too long. Sánchez’s first 175 games in pinstripes were the stuff of legends. But the next 244 (from 2018-2020) were largely a disaster. He either performed terribly or was unable to stay on the field (he still hasn’t played in more than 122 games in a single season).
That’s why the Yankees giving him one final chance in 2021 despite plenty of other options being available via free agency and trade goes to show they did it again; they held on to talent for one year too long with hopes of things “working out” or “turning around.” It just doesn’t work like that.
Sánchez went ahead and put forth a below-average season for his standards (and largely in general), logging a 99 OPS+ and a 99 wRC+ across 117 games. He batted .204 and only had 37 extra-base hits. The at-bats largely weren’t good enough. And though his end-of-season 23 homers and .730 OPS wasn’t exactly “bad,” it was subpar production when you realize who he’s being protected by in the lineup — two of the game’s best sluggers in Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.
So, when we learned how the Twins would be using Sánchez in 2022 (the final year of his team control), it finally made many realize that the Yankees were wrong all along.
Former Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez will be a part-time player on the Twins
The Yankees finally saw enough? They sacrificed the team’s potential for two seasons before finally being fed up?
The Minnesota Twins — again, the MINNESOTA TWINS — who just traded starting catcher Mitch Garver to the Texas Rangers, will be using Sánchez as a designated hitter and BACKUP catcher. Ryan Jeffers will be starting over El Gary and he has just 111 MLB games under his belt.
On the other hand, the Yankees will be using a pair of options behind the plate in 2022, if we are to believe insider Jack Curry, who’s usually spot-on with his insight.
It took the Yankees four years to realize that a rotating system of below-average catchers would be more effective than putting all their eggs in Sánchez’s basket … despite many fans calling for a change behind the plate since after the 2019 season, when it was a tale of two halves for the young slugger. The lack of offensive consistency and continued defensive lapses just weren’t suitable for the Yankees’ ultimate aspirations.
But you know the Yankees … they need to see their plans all the way through so they can handle everything on their terms or prove all the doubters wrong. These decisions are hardly made ahead of schedule or even when they need to be. At this point, one more year of Sánchez under team control felt like the best way to go about this. Gamble on the possibility of him rebounding in a contract year and officially see it through since enough time was already wasted.
But all the Yankees did by trading him was prove the loud calls for his ousting, even early on when they seemed unfounded and knee-jerky, were actually right the entire time.