Gary Sanchez has been one of the more polarizing players for the New York Yankees, simply based on his inconsistencies. Whether it be offensive or defensive, Sanchez has failed to make significant steps forward in his development, and it has forced the Yankees to reevaluate the position and consider moving on from the homegrown talent.
After a stellar 2017 season where he hit 33 homers and 90 RBIs, he has degraded quickly, logging a .147 average with 10 homers and 19 RBIs this past season.
In fact, Sanchez finished with a 36% strikeout rate, which increased by nearly 13% from 22.9% in 2017. His -0.1 WAR is simply awful, and despite an abbreviated 2020 campaign that didnâ€™t represent a normal seasonâ€™s sample size, you canâ€™t ignore how poorly he played over 49 games.
The major problem with Sanchez is consistency and confidence as he goes on lengthy cold streaks, and his hot streaks donâ€™t last long. He hits home runs on occasion, but that statistic alone doesnâ€™t carry him and supplement his deficiencies.
Following the Yankeesâ€™ departure from the postseason, general manager Brian Cashman indicated that they would be evaluating the catcher position, and reports stating that the Yankees were fielding offers for him at the August trade deadline is telling of their future.
â€œItâ€™s certainly a fair question, the way Gary Sanchezâ€™s season transpired and the way it ended with [Higashioka] actually starting in the postseason as many games as he did,â€™â€™ Cashman said in October of the Yankeesâ€™ catching situation. â€œItâ€™s one of the discussion points weâ€™re gonna have to focus on.â€
MLB Network reported that the Yankees placed calls regarding future Hall of Fame catcher Yadier Molina, who is better than Sanchez in nearly every way. If they managed to acquire him, not only would they be gaining a superior offensive weapon, but also a defensive maestro.
This past season, Molina hit .262 with four homers and 16 RBIs. While Molina isnâ€™t the slugger that Sanchez is by any means, he has a significantly lower strikeout rate at 13.5% this past season and is far better defensively. In 2020, Molina played in 42 games, allowing three passed balls and five errors, earning a .985 feeling percentage. He also threw out five base runners.
Comparably, Sanchez allowed five errors and five passed balls over 41 games, which may not suggest a significant difference, but his fielding and positional adjustment combined was only 2.2 compared to Molinaâ€™s 5.0.
Overall, I believe fielding offers for Sanchez is in the best interest of the Yankees at this time, as with age and deterioration, he will only get worse. He might offer some success in the slugger category, but the Yankees canâ€™t afford to have a liability behind home plate.
There is a reason they supplemented him with Kyle Higashioka at the end of the season, and now they have to make a massive decision this off-season based on those facts alone.