Yankees News/Rumors: Disappointing Tanaka decision, Brett Gardner comeback, Gary Sanchez bold statement

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez
Feb 12, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (24) works out as pitchers and catchers report for spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees and general manager Brian Cashman have some difficult decisions to make in the near future, especially with alternative clubs entering the fold for DJ LeMahieu. The Yankees are no longer guaranteed to retain the star infielder, as the Mets, Dodgers, and Blue Jays have all contacted his representatives and gauged his price tag.

Ultimately, if Cashman decides that he doesn’t want to overspend on LeMahieu, he could elect to take his available money and allocated it towards starting pitching. Of course, this is determined by their confidence in Domingo German and Luis Severino, two starters who will return to the Yankees in 2021 and hopefully have productive seasons.

Nonetheless, German hasn’t pitched in a year, and Severino has battled consistent injuries the past two seasons, limiting his sample size of innings. The Yankees would be smart to invest a bit into pitching, and while LeMahieu is undoubtedly a luxury that adds a ton of value, the Yankees’ downfall always seems to be pitching.

There’s always the possibility they could look to Masahiro Tanaka for another extension, but he could be a bit pricey, and we know what he offers in pinstripes. Tanaka is a solid number three starter who doesn’t have the elite attributes the Yankees need behind Gerrit Cole. He has a finesse arm that relies on location and curve to dominate batters, but the Yankees prefer to have fastball velocity arms who can rack up strikeouts.

Tanaka was reportedly stuck between staying in the MLB or returning to Japan, but he answered those questions this week.

On “All Night Nippon,” a Japanese radio talk show, the free-agent pitcher stated that the chances of returning to Japan are “not zero.”

While a report by NJ.com initially stated that Tanaka would only play for the Yankees if he stayed in the MLB, the Japanese native has corrected those claims, stating:

“At this stage, we are not limiting the teams we want to play [for] next season, but we are thinking [about] all the teams that are interested in us.”

Should the New York Yankees bring Brett Gardner back?

Of course, retaining Brett Gardner would be a nice addition for the Yankees, considering his consistency throughout his career. The Yankees rejected a $10 million club option for Gardner this upcoming season, but it included a buyout. If he’s willing to take a cheaper deal for one year, bringing him back as depth and leadership is not a bad idea. He had a tumultuous 2020 season, heading .223 with five homers and 15 RBIs. He did walk 16.5% of the time, a career-high, but also struck out 22.2%, another career-high.

Gardner is a player I would love for the Yankees to bring back, but only if he’s willing to accept a deal in the $4-5 million range.

Gary Sanchez’s bold statement:

After catcher Gary Sanchez described the difficulty of being benched this past season, he returned to work in the Dominican Republic, winter league. Sanchez has performed well there, utilizing his slugger mentality and hitting home runs, as usual, but major league talent is a bit different.

Ultimately, Sanchez has taken steps backward the past few seasons, both offensively and defensively. In 2020, Sanchez hit .147, with 10 homers and 24 RBIs. He recorded a career-high 36% strike out right and career-low .253 on-base percentage.

Sanchez was tendered a one-year deal by the Yankees, and this is his final shot to prove he can be a long-term solution at catcher, and he feels as though he can make an impact in 2021. He made a bold statement via Instagram, guaranteeing that he would prove us right and the confidence most have instilled in him over the years.