Report: Yankees planning to tender Gary Sanchez prior to 8 PM deadline

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

The New York Yankees have control over catcher Gary Sanchez until 2023, whether or not he is in their long-term plans remains a mystery. Nonetheless, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported that the Yankees plan to tender Sanchez a new contract for one year.

Sanchez, who recently joined some teammates in the Dominican Republic for winter baseball, is hoping to spark his development once again. His last stellar campaign was in 2017 when he had 33 homers, 90 RBIs, and finished with a .278 batting average. However, he is gradually fallen off offensively, finishing the 2020 season with a .147 average and a career-high 36% strikeout rate. This was also the first season he finished with a negative WAR at -0.1.

Sanchez, who still ranks among the best in the MLB at catcher based on potential, simply can’t manage to regain his confidence and health. Injuries have taken their toll on the 28-year-old, especially regarding his lower back.

The New York Yankees are doing everything they can to help Sanchez:

The Yankees brought in former Twins catching specialist Tanner Swanson to help change Gary’s mechanics behind the plate, but they once again resulted in poor defensive performance. He finished 2020 with a .986 fielding percentage, five errors, and five past balls. The Yankees eventually elected to start Kyle Higashioka for a majority of the postseason and made him Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher, which did not benefit Sanchez at all.

There have been reports that the Yankees are intrigued by future Hall of Fame catcher Yadier Molina and Chicago White Sox alternative James McCann. Both would represent upgrades over Sanchez based on his 2020 performance, but one is an aging commodity and the other an inconsistent player with a minimal sample size of quality play.

Of course, there is a slight chance they pursue JT Realmuto, the best catcher in baseball, during free agency, but his price tag is way over the Yankees’ head. Considering how much they spent on Cole last year to establish their race, I don’t imagine they will be breaking the bank in 2021.

Also, happy birthday to Gary Sanchez!