New York Yankees: Gary Sanchez may work hard but is he baseball clueless?

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez
Mar 31, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (24) reacts after a strikeout during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

For New York Yankee fans that love and support Gary Sanchez, this article will come off as being overly harsh. I am sorry for that as I want nothing more than for Gary Sanchez to succeed and become the Yankee star he appeared destined to be. However, the facts are the facts.

First, I will start by saying the reason for this article is Gary Sanchez‘s recent statement that ” he didn’t know why he was benched last season.” That statement was made to ESPN in a long interview. I have gone from being a strong supporter of Sanchez in 2017 to becoming less of a supporter every year. Now that he has made that statement, I have determined that he doesn’t know how to play the game and lacks baseball intellect.

How could a Major League player ask a question like that when every New York Yankee fan knew the answer. With a .147 batting average and just taking up space in the lineup, you were one of the reasons the Yankees failed to win the division. Your catching skills have regressed so much that the team ace doesn’t want you catching him. If you manage to hit the ball, you run the bases like all hits demand a home run trot.

Even the New York Yankee front office who have been over supporters of your potential lost faith in you for the first time at the end of the season. So much so that you were only allowed to catch in two games in the postseason.  You say that you work so hard, but you don’t know why fans are down on you. Many are down on you because no matter how hard you try, they really only care about results. Working hard does not win a season; it may help, but in the end, only results count.  In the 2019 postseason, you hit .127 over four games; this year, you hit .125 in just two games. What is there not to understand?

I believe the New York Yankees made a mistake in taking him back for yet another season where they believe somehow he can remake himself into the player he was four years ago. The bottom line is that Sanchez must stay on the field this year and hit a ton of home runs, or even his most ardent supporters will lose faith in him, and he will be on the road to a different team. The Plain and simple fact is that the Yankees can’t afford to have a player hitting .147 in the lineup even if he was a great catcher with a bullet for an arm. Here are some of Sanchez’s recent quotes:

“I simply do not understand. I am always working hard. Yankees fans are great, but at the same time, they are very demanding. If you’re hitting well, fans love you, they do whatever it takes for you. But when you are not doing well, then it starts … and you know. They will yell anything at you. Sometimes it can be difficult not to have a little encouragement. But those are Yankees fans, and the only thing that matters are results. And I would not have it any other way. I love the high expectations. I can be booed one day when I have a bad game, and the next day I am the hero of the game. But I think sometimes people do not understand that baseball is a game where you are going to fail many more times than you are going to succeed. I just don’t understand that criticism. The results were not there; that is true. But it was never due to lack of work.”

In the regular season, when they sat me down, they told me they were going to give me two days or three days to get myself back together again: “Work on what you have to work, rest a little and work on the areas where you’re failing.” When the playoffs came around, when they benched me the first time, I understood that I was no longer catching the pitcher who was going to pitch that day, which started during the regular season. I used to say to myself, “I’m not going to play that particular game, but after today, I’m going to play.” That’s how things started off, and I understood.

I played the second game in Cleveland, and I played well. Then we went to San Diego, to the bubble. I didn’t play in the first game because I wasn’t catching [Gerrit] Cole. After almost a week without playing, it didn’t go well for me in the second game. Actually, none of us did well in that game. After that, I thought I was going to play the next day, because it had been a very bad game for everybody. I struck out three times, but I felt like I was taking good cuts, good swings. I felt so much better. But I didn’t play. And I said to myself, “What happened here?” But my job is to support my team. But from then on, nobody told me anything. They just told me, “Stay ready.”

“I struck out three times, but I felt so much better.” Huh?

Reading into these statements, even asked the question, are you delusional or just clueless? It really makes you wonder if he really understands baseball and what is expected of him. I like I said earlier that I want Sanchez to succeed and succeed big time for the sake of the team. He can be that type of player. But he must improve his defense; he must learn to hit for contact, so he doesn’t repeat his season with the highest strikeout rate in his career. He has to continue to hit home runs and run the bases like he means it.