No need to Monday Morning Quarterback here. After the 2021 season. we wanted Gary Sánchez gone. He'd worn out his welcome behind the plate in the Bronx, and while we thought he might fit as a DH (where he'd be unable to fake tag any Mets), that role was already occupied full-time by Giancarlo Stanton.
Therefore, a new home seemed like the best fit for all, and a simple non-tender would've worked prior to the 2021-22 lockout. Instead, the Yankees foolishly chose to pick up his contract, then use it as fodder to take on even more money in the Josh Donaldson/Isiah Kiner-Falefa trade. While IKF has shaken off his reputational dings from 2022 and emerged on the right side of history as a beloved utility man after winning over the crowd, Donaldson has ... not done that.
Forget Sánchez's poor offensive season in 2022 for a minute. The Yankees bet on his failure, got that right (88 OPS+), and still managed to make the wrong move.
Entering 2023, Sánchez was in purgatory, while the Yankees had gone defense-first behind the dish and stumbled upon a Platinum Glove winner/surprise All-Star in Jose Trevino. Needless to say, Trevino looks like a much better player when he isn't harboring a torn wrist; New York has gotten near-zero from the catching position this season.
They've also gotten near-zero from the entire lineup from June through the present date, installing a fleet of has-beens, never-wases, and maybes in the wake of Aaron Judge's toe injury. Anthony Rizzo played two months with a concussion. Things have never been worse.
Except for Sánchez, who has bounced from the Giants to the Mets to the Padres this season, and most importantly has drilled 15 home runs in San Diego (122 OPS+) from May 31 to present. That would lead the Yankees, ahead of Giancarlo Stanton, who appeared to have taken running lessons from old footage of Sánchez over the weekend.
Yankees castoff Gary Sánchez has found his comfort zone in San Diego
Rest assured, Sánchez is still the same player he was in, say, 2019, when his stat line earned him an All-Star appearance, but made Yankees traditionalists blanch. He's batting .222 with a .297 OBP and 44 strikeouts in 53 games in San Diego.
In this instance, though, those traditionalists would be ... wrong. Sánchez, doing this, at this position, is an extremely valuable player. Sánchez hitting 16 homers while moving out from behind the plate last year ... was not.
Curiously, his appearances as a DH this season have only dragged down his season line; his OPS in 44 games as a catcher is .837. At DH? .704.
Sánchez needed a fresh start away from New York at the end of 2021, and it took him a year and a half to find it. The Yankees could not afford to wait that long, nor could they afford to pay a catcher who drew the ire of the fan base with his escalating arbitration salary.
But it was the Yankees' job to replace Sánchez's best-case-scenario bat in the lineup somehow, and they failed spectacularly at doing so, adding water to the boat to absorb a non-entity in Donaldson along the way. As of Aug. 2023, Sánchez appears to be the sole winner here.