Yankees could be facing massive problem at catcher as Gary Sanchez flounders

Alexander Wilson
New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

At the start of spring training, there was optimism that New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez would return to his 2017 self. In fact, slugger and teammate Aaron Judge indicated that Sanchez could be the AL MVP in 2021, and at first, Sanchez was lighting up the diamond offensively and showing consistency on defense. However, he has come crashing back down to earth as of late, currently hitting .216 with 15 strikeouts and three homers.

Should we be concerned about Sanchez’s lack of production? Absolutely.

Yes, home runs are beneficial, and the Yankees rely on them to spur their run production, but Sanchez showing high strikeout rates once again this spring is not convincing. Of course, he could just need more at-bats and live-action to get into the groove, but he’s been playing since before the start of spring training in winter ball.

The Yankees are seeing the same-old Gary…

Referring back to 2020, where Sanchez posted a .147 average with 10 homers and a career-high 36% strikeout rate, the Yankees are running out of patience with their homegrown catcher. They signed him to a one-year, $6.35 million deal, a slight raise compared to his 2020 salary.

There is a simple reality that the Yankees must boil down to after watching Sanchez the past few weeks. The troubled catcher is fighting vigorously to claw back his potential and reverse the clock several years, but this spring hasn’t been convincing for management. With Opening Day just a week away, the team doesn’t have a strong opinion on what he can offer in 2021. He continues to slump, going one 1-for-21 the last few weeks at the plate.

Teammates have come to Gary’s aide, stating his work ethic and how intense his training sessions are, but simply haven’t translated over to the baseball diamond. Management continues to relay patience to the media, but they might have hit a dead-end in Sanchez’s development. Now, it is fair to mention that he is floundering during spring training, and they could be testing different mechanisms to help improve his offense.

However, I’m willing to wager that Sanchez would rather enter the regular season with consistent offense rather than a massive slump, just how he left 2020. The primary issue, the Yankees don’t have any other choice but to roll with Sanchez, who skipper Aaron Boone already claimed as their Opening Day starting catcher. This position could end up suffering greatly, and all we can do is hope Sanchez comes around.