A week ago, we all thought a decision would likely come at the end of the season when Sánchez reached the first free agency period of his career. A once-promising career dipped significantly beginning in 2018, rebounded in the first half of 2019, then cratered deeper and deeper after he was named to the All-Star team that season.
Though 2021 was better than 2020, Sánchez still was definitively un-extendable for a suddenly cost-conscious Bronx Bombers club.
We were somewhat surprised when Brian Cashman and Co. tendered him a contract in early December, but understood. After all, there are between three and four viable offensive catchers in the modern game. If you’ve got one, it’s hard to let one go. But when Sánchez and Gio Urshela were dealt to the Minnesota Twins late Sunday night? That also … was not shocking. Whatever the ultimate outcome, it seemed possible.
On Thursday, the theoretical became a reality. Sánchez stepped out of his Photo Day pose and onto the field, taking his first hacks as a Twin against the Boston Red Sox, a team he once dominated in the ALCS just three years ago.
This time? Got dominated.
Ex-Yankees catcher Gary Sánchez not off to the perfect start with Twins
Yeah, that leg kick … just … is not it.
In the clubhouse, Sánchez seems at ease thus far with Minnesota’s sluggers, serving as a DH/catcher in an overstuffed offense led by Jorge Polanco and Miguel Sano. For whatever reason, these Twins have never matched the same heights they reached hitting bombas in 2019 (rocket ball?), and regressed across the board in 2021, desperate for a talent infusion.
On the field, though, it seems Minnesota fans have started their Jekyll-and-Hyde experience with the ugly side of Sánchez’s swing, a sword that didn’t look ready for prime time on Thursday.
When Sánchez is in a groove, there’s no one like him. Even at his most inconsistent, he’s entirely unique.
Hopefully, brighter days are just around the corner for him — and it wouldn’t kill him to take aim at the Red Sox as well, for old times’ sake.