New York Yankees: Is Gary Sanchez’s future in limbo yet again?

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

It’s mid-2020, and the New York Yankee news is that Gary Sanchez may be traded, and that could be the same news from 2018, and now it is again becoming scuttlebutt this season yet again. This brings me to the TV series The Mentalist, starring Simon Baker. His constant search was for a serial killer named “Red John” who killed the Mentalist’s wife and child. The Killer’s signature was leaving a smiley face in blood on the wall of those he killed. When Baker saw that signature, he knew what was going on and who did it. The Yankees conversely see the writing on the wall with Gary Sanchez and chose to say, don’t worry, we have faith in him getting better.

The problem with all of this is that it is an agonizingly old story. Where does it end? Although Sanchez started the season with a weak spark, his batting average has constantly been slipping with each game. He is now down to an average of .182 after hitting .143 for all of last season. Add to that; he seems zapped of his power; 8 Yankee players have as many or more home runs.  Along with his catching failings, just like last season, he seems lost at the plate. He can’t hit fastballs, and changeups mystify him. When is it time to move on?

The irony in all of this is that his backup catcher is proving with each game that he is the better catcher, the better framer, the better game caller, and now the better hitter by far. It could be that the New York Yankees are getting the message earlier this season than last. Sanchez has already been benched in six of 23 games. That is twice as much as should reasonably be expected.

As a writer, I have oft been criticized for being so critical of Gary Sanchez. I can’t argue that, but at the same time, no one has wanted him to succeed more than I did and do, but there is a limit in waiting for unrealized potential to be realized. In the four years since 2018, he has a combined batting average of just .186.

Possibly trading away Sanchez could be the answer for both the New York Yankees and Sanchez himself. He may need a change of venue and a change in coaches to open up his potential. The only intriguing trade scenario I see is with the Colorado Rockies. That trade could involve the Yankees’ Gleyber Torres and the Rockies’ Trevor Story solving two problems for the Yankees. That would leave a hole at backup catcher. For this to happen, Higashioka would be promoted to full-time catcher, and the Yankees could choose to bring up Donny Sands or even the power-hitting catcher Josh Breaux.

It’s difficult to ignore the published results that Yankee ace Gerrit Cole had with Kyle Higashioka that continues to this day. After slow starts, both Corey Kluber and Domino German got their first wins of the season with Kyle Higashioka behind the plate. Whether they will publicly admit it or not, the new Yankees pitching staff seems to be more comfortable pitching to Higgy. It’s time for the Yankee front office to finally admit that Gary Sanchez in his fourth lackluster year may not be that catcher of the future they envisioned.