By far the funniest outcome of the Yankees' "Gary Sánchez, Gio Urshela and a Pathway to Carlos Correa for Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Josh Donaldson, and $50 Million" trade would be Sánchez, the deal's chief lightning rod, winding up silently back in the Bronx one year later.
While it seems highly unlikely -- the Yankees went all in on defense at catcher last year and uncovered an All-Star, while Sánchez has been a below-average offensive player three years running -- the catcher himself stoked the flames on Tuesday night.
The night before pitchers and catchers were scheduled to report to their spring training camps, Sánchez posted a workout video to prove that he's been on his grind. In the video, he was not so subtly rocking Yankees moisture-wicking gear.
A month ago, we were prepared for Sánchez to sign with the Red Sox. Now we're coming up with convoluted scenarios where he could be joining the Yankees as a third catcher/DH/minor-league option/left fielder, Yogi Berra-style? What a whirlwind.
Could Yankees really re-sign Gary Sánchez?
One thing's for sure: Sánchez would certainly fit in the Yankees' $3 million budget space before the Steve Cohen tax threshold. But would they actually be interested in using a roster spot on him, with left field still abandoned? Probably not.
But the lack of interest in Sánchez to this point has been startling, even for a bat-first player rocking OPS+ marks of 70 (shortened 2020), 99 and 89 the past three seasons. The Yankees certainly love their projects. Why wouldn't they love a familiar one, especially now that he's no longer expected to be a primary catcher?
Last year in Minnesota, the prevailing wisdom was that Sánchez's bat would really go off, 2016-style, once the keys to the catching position were taken away and he was made a primary DH. That didn't happen; Sánchez posted his typically exceptional hard-hit metrics and barrel percentage, but didn't make an offensive dent. He chased. He whiffed. He got on base at a .282 clip and OPS'd .659.
Any team that signs Sánchez will have to accept that 2016 was a long time ago, and that the magic won't show up consistently. It will show up on occasion, though. How much filler are the Yankees willing to tolerate in the name of a few sparks?