Yankees look to solve catcher problem
In a season that the New York Yankees have so many decisions to make to improve the team, the question of who will become the 2021 starting catcher is becoming less clear. Shortly after the World Series, the Yankees let it be known that they would entertain offers for catcher Gary Sanchez. It looked like Sanchez might be non-tendered, and on his way out of would be relinquishing his starting position to Kyle Higashioka or a catcher yet to be determined.
But, now on Monday on the Yes Network, manager Aaron Boone sang his praises for Sanchez and suggested that criticism of him might be unwarranted.
“I think he’s been unfairly criticized a lot,” Boone told the YES Network. “I think at times it’s over the top and people are blinded by some of the things that he’s done really well. This year was certainly a challenging year for him and a struggle for him in a lot of ways, but that’s okay.”
This statement by Boone only further clouds the situation with Sanchez. Sanchez is coming off the worse season of his career, hitting only .147 and still exhibiting his defensive ills. Near the end of the season, the New York Yankees seemed to give up on Sanchez’s continued support, replacing him at times with Higashioka even in the postseason.
Often mentioned as a short-term resolution to the Yankees catcher problem is to secure Yadier Molina, the veteran pitcher from the Cardinals, who is now a free agent for the first time in his career. To me, acquiring a veteran like Molina makes sense, even on a one or two-year deal. The surprising benefit if the Yankees keep Sanchez around, Molina might be the answer to solving Sanchez’s defensive ills.
What does Domingo German’s future look like?
The Athletic reported Hal Steinbrenner was pretty non-committal when he spoke about Germán on ESPN Radio in October, which I found pretty interesting. There’s a lot to be considered here, starting with what level of remorse and growth Germán demonstrates to the organization following his suspension under the league domestic violence policy.
He basically said that German would have to prove to him that he was a changed man. Complicating that was his erratic behavior on Twitter and a car accident involving his wife. German has not been in touch with his teammates since his suspension for violating the league’s domestic violence protocol. He has not pitched now in a major league game in 19 months.
However, all that being said, he is playing winter ball, preparing for his possible return. He was reinstated onto the 40 man New York Yankee roster. Whether he comes back or doesn’t come back, it probably won’t be a surprise to Yankees fans, some of which want him back and some don’t. Regardless of how you feel, it must be kept in mind that he was the Yankee’s best pitcher in the 2019 season, and as the video below shows, he doesn’t seem to have lost a beat in his winter games in the Dominican.
Domingo German did not allow a hit in four scoreless innings for @TorosdelEste tonight!
German had seven strikeouts, two HBPs and a walk on 56 pitches
It was his first game action since September 18, 2019 pic.twitter.com/p5hirwp5WU
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) November 17, 2020
Will the Universal DH become normal going forward?
With all the unanswered questions about the upcoming 2021 season, it may cause the teams in this uncertain environment to act this offseason slowly. After the December 2nd deadline to tendering players, there may be a much-expanded list of free-agent players.
Another question that may be holding some teams back is whether there will be a continuation of the Universal DH. It seems most players in the player’s union are favorable to the idea. However, with the collective bargaining agreement now open to updating, it would not be surprising if MLBPA union President Tony Clark will want something in return for that decision. We may see expanded postseason play much like we did this year.
One thing is for sure, and that is there will be much going on with the Players Union, the teams, and the players, all looking to find their way into another baseball season.