New York Yankees: CC Sabathia says Gary Sanchez has the talent to rebound

New York Yankees, Yankees, CC Sabathia
Apr 29, 2018; Anaheim, CA, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52) reacts while leaving the field during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

CC Sabathia is a well-respected figure in the New York Yankees‘ universe. Upon arriving as a free agent, he delivered the first championship for the city in nine years, in 2009 (and the last to this day.) He was an active member of the team until hanging up his cleats in 2019.

And, having played major league ball for 19 years (11 of them with the New York Yankees) he’s an authorized voice when it comes to offering his insight about the issues and situations taking place in the Bronx.

One of the conundrums of the Yankees’ offseason is what to do with struggling catcher Gary Sanchez. The Kraken slumped all the way to a .147 batting average, a 36 percent strikeout rate, and a 69 wRC+ in the condensed 2020 season. He even lost his place in the starting lineup to career backup Kyle Higashioka in the playoffs.

The former Yankees pitcher defends his batterymate

Sabathia spent more than four seasons with Sanchez as his batterymate, and he said he is confident that the Yankees’ catcher can get back on track and resurrect his stagnant career. He believes in his vast potential for 2021 and beyond.

“For sure,” Sabathia told the New York Post’s George A. King III when asked about Sanchez’s rebound prospects. “There are tough times in your career and you have to make an adjustment. He wants to be a good catcher in the big leagues and we obviously know he has the talent to do it. Now it is time for him to get back to work and to the level of the player that we know he can be.”

Sanchez’s line in the 2020 campaign was .147/.253/.365 with 10 home runs and 24 RBI in 49 games.
He was much better back in 2019, when he slashed .232/.316/.525 with 34 home runs and 77 RBI. At this point, given his fly ball tendencies and his slow sprint speed, Sanchez’s batting average upside is limited, but the Yankees are expecting a much higher wRC+ than 69 for the future.

Sanchez could be a non-tender candidate for the Yankees if they decide to move on from his projected $5.5 million 2021 salary.