The New York Yankees have lost in another postseason, and Gary Sanchez is in the center of those losses. It’s time for the Yankees to cut bait and get rid of Gary Sanchez and stop thinking about it. First, let me say that there is no question that Gary Sanchez has talent, he has an accurate arm that is like a cannon, and when he is hitting, he can hit home run after home run. That resume sounds like a star baseball player. But for the New York Yankees, that talent has almost never risen to the top. Instead, what they have gotten from Sanchez is a miserable .186 batting average from 2017 to a .147 batting average in 2020 and, at best, a suspect ability to be a quality catcher.
As it stood at the end of the season and postseason, back up catcher Kyle Higashioka was a better catcher all around then Sanchez. That is not how to start a 2021 season when the Yankees hope to find their way to a World Series appearance. There is much talk about who the Yankees should get to solve their problems. And that conversation is a good one, but what most are not talking about is who the Yankees should get rid of. The fact, blind to many, is that the Yankees need to trade off a struggling Adam Ottavino, a postseason failing Aroldis Chapman, and the biggest liability in the lineup, Gary Sanchez.
For the most part, up until the end of the regular season, the Yankees played with a lineup of eight instead of nine, as Gary Sanchez was just wasted space in an otherwise outstanding lineup. He lost whatever he had gained in defense at shortstop, and just plain couldn’t hit the ball. The Yankees have been high for years on what Sanchez could be when they should have been zeroing in on what he wasn’t. Finally, at the end of the regular 2020 season, the Yankees saw his shortcomings. They began to acknowledge them by allowing Gerrit Cole a personal catcher in Kyle Higashioka while sitting Sanchez and allowing “Higgy” more playing time behind the plate.
In the postseason, the Yankees relied mostly on Higashioka that caught well and hit well. This, for the first time, put Sanchez’s future with the Yankees in question. That future has come under a magnifying glass now that the offseason is in full swing, and the Yankees look for ways of improving the team. Some teams would look at Gary Sanchez as an upgrade. The Yankees should take advantage of that and trade him. With Kyle Higashioka and Erik Kratz, the Yankees already have qualified catchers, but most likely, neither could be an everyday catcher.
There are many quality catchers in free agency, and the Yankees should find one and replace Gary Sanchez and his liabilities. J.T. Realmuto is the prize in free agency, but he will come at a high price that the Yankees don’t need to spend for, with all the other team needs. The Yankees probably won’t consider another higher-priced catcher by the name of Yadier Molina; he would be half the price of Realmuto. Unfortunately, they will probably pass on him. But there is a bevy of catchers in free agency that would be a batting average upgrade for Sanchez.
Some of these guys could come to the Yankees at a steal in the financially lousy free agency caused by the coronavirus. The Yankees could get the Rays Zunino for about $4 million, the Braves Tyler Flowers, or even reunite with Austin Romine, both of which would be even cheaper than Zunino. The Yankees know that Romine can catch and hit at Yankee Stadium. Re-uniting with him could produce a platoon situation of Higashioka, Romine, and Kratz, who works very well with the younger pitching prospects.
The New York Yankees must not continue to hope Gary Sanchez will be the catcher they always wanted, be realistic, and get rid of him. They can’t accept another season with Gary Sanchez as a liability. The Yankees have cut bait before, dumping Mike Stanley in the late ’90s for the more aggressive Joe Girardi. Let’s hope they make the same decision this offseason to overall improve the team.