What if I were to tell you that New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez hit .147 with a 36% strikeout rate in 2020? You would probably say, â€œwhy on earth is he starting on an everyday basis?â€
Well, many are asking that same question, and ultimately, Sanchez still has the support of Yankee management, even if they are pursuing an alternative at the position. This past season, Sanchez lost his starting job to Kyle Higashioka, as the alternative became Gerrit Coleâ€™s personal catcher and took a majority of the reps during the postseason, which says a lot about how far Sanchez has fallen.
You could also make the argument that he didnâ€™t even attempt to regain his spot, letting Kyle take his reps, and simply didnâ€™t fight over the subsequent benching. Passionate players do everything they can to remain on the field and earn starting reps, but Sanchez simply let them slip away, and that could be a cause for concern in itself.
Nonetheless, it has led the Yankees to consider other options at the position, notably St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.
Future HOF catcher Yadier Molina wants to play for a contending team, stating the Yankees have inquired about him, per MLB.com:
In an interview Thursday with Laura Bonnelly, Yadier Molina said there are several teams that have expressed interest in signing the veteran catcher this offseason, including the Padres and Angels in addition to teams previously reported — the Mets and Yankees. He said he’s looking for a two-year deal with a contending club and that he’s not focused on the money aspect, but rather winning another championship before he retires. Molina also said he’d prefer to return to the Cardinals, with whom he has spent his entire 17-year career, over which he helped St. Louis win two World Series titles while winning nine Gold Glove Awards.
Yadier quiere quedarse en San Luis, Planea jugar dos aÃ±os mÃ¡s, le manda un consejo a Gary SÃ¡nchez, habla del caso de CanÃ³ y mucho mÃ¡s. Veanla completa https://t.co/FvpGixznKr pic.twitter.com/l4wa6Y3nbD
— Laura A. Bonnelly V. (@LaurabonnellyV) November 26, 2020
Molina finished the 2020 season with a .262 batting average, including four homers and 16 RBIs. He is no slugger but gets decent contact on the ball and only struck out 13.5% of the time (Fangraphs).
Over 145 at-bats, he recorded 38 hits, with 32 of them being singles. He only struck out 21 times, and his ability to get on base fits perfectly with the Yankeesâ€™ slugger mentality.
Theoretically, as long as they can get somebody on base and can hit home runs at a high rate, they can put tons of points on the board. That is their analytical standpoint, and it has worked well in recent years. Pitching has been their ultimate deficiency.
However, Molina wants to sign a two-year deal on a contending team, and money isnâ€™t a factor for him. Defensively, he has taken a step down, posting a .985 fielding percentage with five errors and three passed balls.
However, it does seem to be an anomaly based on his performance in 2019, where he allowed just one error and four pass balls over 111 games. Comparably to Sanchez, who played nine games in 2019 and allowed 15 errors and seven passed balls.
There is no question that the Yankees would be getting an upgrade defensively in Yadier, but offensively he isnâ€™t much of a slugger, which the Yankees look for in hitters these days. Nonetheless, their interest is enticing, and we will keep a close eye on this rumor.