Assessing The Options - Yankees V6: Catcher. It's now or never for Gary Sanchez
Every Yankees fan biggest headache and biggest question mark. Is Gary Sanchez the catcher of today and tomorrow? He has caused quite frustration, but also excitement when he is clobbering home runs in Kraken fashion. However, this year is the biggest test in the catchers Yankees career.
The Yankees have pretty much committed to Sanchez during the early weeks of the offseason. He was tendered a contract worth about $8 million dollars.
The 28-year old backstop had another lack luster season. In 117 games last year, Sánchez hit .204/.307/.423 with 23 home runs and 54 RBIs. This was third season of the last four batting an average of .204 or lower. Ugh. It's frustrating because when the Kraken is hot, he is hotttt.
The free agent market is thin as can be this year. There's no Realmuto or McCann type candidate. Yan Gomes (Whitesox), Manuel Pina (Braves), Roberto Perez (Pirates), Pedro Severino (Brewers), and Kurt Suzuki (Angels) all have signed thus far. To be honest, I don't think any of those guys are better than Gary. He's a 2x All-Star with a Silver Slugger Award. In his career, he has 138 homeruns and 340 RBI's. His offense is wishy washy, but his defense is what the biggest problem is. Did he work this offseason to fix it?
So who's left? Could fan favorite Austin Romine come back into the mix? Maybe Wilson Ramos, Alex Avila, or Robert Chirinos? Again, fine handcuff options that could offer platoon flexibility, but Kyle Higashioka already holds that role, and quite frankly, he holds the role down well.
Tigers jumped to trade for Tucker Barnhart in the early days of the offseason, and Mitch Garver is now a Texas Ranger. The Royals could move Salvador Perez or the A’s and Sean Murphy, but there hasn't been much noise around that. One name that everyone would LOVE is Willson Contreras of the Cubs. That would be ideal. But again, I think the Yankees brass would like to give Gary one more shot.
If that's the case, luckily for Yankee fans, the future does look bright. The farm system is stocked, headlined by No.6 team ranked prospect Austin Wells. They also have tons of first round talents and minor league studs including Josh Breaux, Antonio Gomez, and Anthony Seigler, who are all projected to be ready within the next two to three seasons.
I mean, if Austin Wells doesn't get shipped off (maybe to Oakland for Olson??), then he would be pretty damn cool to have. As for now, it's not the biggest priority for the team, but this season is everything that will determine if Sanchez wears pinstripes after 2022.