Once upon a time, back in 2021, Gary Sánchez was not performing at the level befitting of a New York Yankees slugger, no longer able to slug to the degree we'd grown accustomed to.
But now? Even Sánchez's below-average final seasons in the Bronx would look like a breath of fresh air, compared to what the 2023 Yankees have been running out in the 6-9 spots of their lineup daily. Take away the responsibilities of catching and make him a perma-DH, and Sánchez could be a valuable Yankee -- right now -- even if he can't quite push himself over the 100 OPS+ threshold.
So what if Sánchez clocked in at a 99 in his final season in pinstripes and an 88 in his one season with the Twins? Willie Calhoun needed a game-winning homer Tuesday to get to 57. Franchy Cordero? Despite an early hot streak, he's ... also at exactly 57, how is that possible?
While Sánchez's superstar days appear over, even the worst version of the mercurial ex-Yankee is worlds better than what the team will be fielding for the foreseeable future. And thanks to his decision to opt out of his minor-league contract with the Giants on Tuesday night, fate may have some interesting plans for these two star-crossed parties.
Yankees actually should sign Gary Sánchez. What have they got to lose?
Only one question remains: Does he still have the shorts?
Prior to triggering his opt-out, Sánchez had a slow go of it in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. Despite high elevations and a tightly-wound ball, the ex-Yankee hit just .164 with 19 strikeouts in a homer-less 55 at-bats, though he ended up with a .319 OBP.
His minor-league attempt to shake off the rust didn't spark much joy, but the sad reality is that the Yankees no longer have much to lose.
They were so desperate to get rid of Sánchez after a break-even 2021 season that they attached Gio Urshela to his contract and absorbed Josh Donaldson's money in response. Couldn't they simply have non-tendered him? That's a question for Brian Cashman (and the answer is yes).
But now, the desperation swings the other way, and even an unimpressive Sánchez stint would likely be more meaningful than any other option at the position. Forget Tanner Swanson, Gary. Forget catching on one knee, two knees, or half a knee. Forget stances. Forget everything. Just grip it, and rip it.
Based on the 473-foot home run he graced Yankee Stadium with last fall, he can certainly still do that from time to time.