Brian Cashman and New York Yankees playing with prospect fire, could they get burned?

New York Yankees, Yankees, Brian Cashman

The New York Yankees made their first move of the offseason a couple of nights ago. New York traded Gio Urshela and Gary Sanchez for Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Filefa, and Ben Rortfedt from the Twins.

It was a little bit of a head-scratching move, but it makes some sense. The Yankees were ready to move on from Gary Sanchez and they needed a shortstop. In Josh Donaldson, they feel like they upgraded at third and upgrading across the board was worth taking on the Donaldson salary.

Yesterday, we saw one of the Yanks biggest offseason targets come off the board. From the moment the offseason began, there was chatter that the Yankees really wanted to make a trade with Oakland for superstar first baseman, Matt Olson.

However, the prospect haul would have to be big and Cashman seemed resistant. Well, the Atlanta Braves were willing to do it and they secured the start lefty. Now, the Yankees are still trying to figure out the first base position.

They are in on Freddie Freeman. However, most believe it’s going to be a steep hill to climb to get him. A reunion with Anthony Rizzo could be in the cards, but there’s something that’s struck me in the last couple of days about the Yankees approach this offseason.

Yankees Prospects and Holding on Too Long

A few years ago, Gary Sanchez could’ve been the centerpiece of a trade that brought a legit star to the Yankees. Clint Frazier, Chance Adams, and Miguel Andjuar were requested by the Pirates a few years ago for Gerrit Cole.

Deivi Garcia and Estavan Florial were asked about in trades for proven MLB starting pitchers. Gleyber Torres was asked about in many trades that could’ve brought stars back to the Yankees that could’ve drastically helped this club potentially win a World Series.

Brian Cashman turned down major trades over and over again to hold onto these prospects out of the fear of missing out. In the last few years, there’s really only been one prospect Cashman has held onto that’s turned out to be a star and that’s Aaron Judge.

Remember Greg Bird? Look, I absolutely love the fact that Brian Cashman truly believes in his guys. However, he has really developed a horrible habit of holding onto guys until they virtually have no value at all.

You will not find a bigger fan of Anthony Volpe than me. I also love Oswald Peraza and Jasson Dominguez. They all are sensational prospects. However, all three of them are far from guarantees and Yankees fans have to hope they pan out.

The Prospect Problem and Hopium

Let me ask you, if you were told that Jasson Dominguez and Oswald Peraza were traded for Matt Olson, but the Yankees won a World Series next year would you do it? I would hope many if not all would say yes.

Cashman has behaved like a GM who is half in and half out. Half of him wants to build for the future while the other half wants to win now. You can’t have it both ways and the Yankees are 13 years removed from a World Series as a result.

If Anthony Volpe turns out to be the next Derek Jeter and Dominguez turns out to be the next Mickey Mantle, Cashman is a genius. However, if they both flame out, Yankees fans will once again be left wondering, what if?

What if Gerrit Cole was traded to New York instead of Houston? What if the Yankees acquired Jose Ramirez or Francisco Lindor a couple of years ago for a package headlined by Gleyber Torres.

Yesterdays trade will be another what if? What if the Yankees had made the prospect package needed to acquire Matt Olson. Time will tell, but it’s a risky game that has burned Cashman more times than not in recent memory. I truly hope he’s right this time.

The New York Yankees finally part ways with Gary Sanchez in favor of muscle bound Ben Rortvedt

Late Sunday night, the New York Yankees forged a mega-trade with the Minnesota Twins, getting a new shortstop, third baseman, and a new catcher, replacing Gary Sanchez. The Yankees, in another move, acquired Tim Locastro, giving them insurance in center field.

To put it plain and simply, the Yankees’ annual postseason pain is over. Each year the Yankees had to make the decision to keep the struggling backstop or to trade him off. In the end, the Yankees continued to support the homegrown catcher.

Sanchez was a Yankee star in 2017, when he hit .278 over 122 games, with a team-leading 33 homers, the most of any Yankee catcher since Yogi Berra. While his defense wasn’t perfect, he performed adequately. Since then, he has struggled both behind the plate and in front of it. He even had mental gaffs that were both embarrassing and painful to watch. Nevertheless, the Yankees held on to their sup-par catcher. That is no longer a question, as he has been traded off to the Twins.

There is probably no New York Yankee player that was more controversial than Gary Sanchez; you either loved or hated him, according to how you saw him. Some saw him as a miserable failure as a backstop, and others saw him as the most powerful catcher in MLB history. As I see it, neither was entirely true, but I will say his improvement in 2019 was remarkable, defensively even though his hitting was not good. In 2020 he elevated horrible to new lows hitting only .147.

Fast forward to the coronavirus shortened 2020 season. Sanchez managed to stay healthy. However, he was nothing short of horrible offensively. On the defensive side of the plate, he has 4 passed balls on the season so far. That equates to roughly 12 in a standard season. All of 2019, in 162 games, he had only 7 passed balls. So, his 2019 defensive improvement has been lost that year. Sanchez has not had an acceptable batting average since 2017. Last season his batting was just .147, his worst season batting average ever. Many fans thought his batting was like a deer in the headlights, uncomfortable and completely lost.

Those fan concerns are now in the Yankees’ rearview mirror. Apparently, the Twins think they know better than the Yankees, announcing that they will use Sanchez primarily as a DH, with some backup catcher duties.

What the Yankees will do to replace Sanchez is still unknown. They have their options by promoting Kyle Higashioka or using newly acquired Ben Rortvedt, which was part of the mega-trade with the Twins. Rortvedt is not a great hitter but is a great defensive backstop. Rortvedt has plenty of time to grow, he is only 24 years old. In this writers’ opinion, Higashioka will be the Yankees’ starting day catcher., with Rortvedt being the backup catcher.

New York Yankees sign outfield insurance with Tim Locastro

tim locastro, yankees

Wow, with New York Yankee fans complaining all offseason that the front office had done nothing to improve the team, they woke up this morning to a blockbuster trade, bringing a shortstop, new third baseman, and a new catcher to the Yankees. In the earth-shaking trade with the Minnesota Twins, Gio Urshela and Gary Sanchez will go to the Twins.

In the trade, the Yankees got their new shortstop in Isiah Kiner-Falefa, third baseman Josh Donaldson, and backstop Ben Rortvedt.

Not to be overlooked, a less key move was to acquire an old friend in outfielder Tim Locastro to provide insurance in the outfield.

Per the Yankees PR team:

“The New York Yankees announced today that they have signed OF Tim Locastro to a one­­-year Major League contract.”

Locastro, 29, has batted .231 (100-for-432) with 74R, 21 doubles, 3 triples, 5HR, 31RBI, 31BB and 31SB in 209 games over parts of five Major League seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers (2017-18), Arizona Diamondbacks (2019-21) and Yankees (2021). The right-handed hitter has appeared at all three outfield positions in his career, playing 65 games in center field, 58 games in left field and 40 games in right field.

It is no secret that center fielder Aaron Hicks has not been a dependable player in the middle of Yankee Stadium, He can be a great player when healthy but can’t seem to stay healthy, requiring Brett Gardner and even Aaron Judge to fill in for him. Last season the Yankees brought in Locastro when Hicks was injured again.

Unfortunately, his time with the Yankees was cut short when he slammed into the wall trying to make a catch on July 18, 2021. He caught the ball but landed badly, causing a torn ACL. In his nine-game stint with the Yankees, he hit .190 with 9 home runs. At the end of the season, the Yankees let him go into free agency.

In a burst of team-changing moves, some fans may not be approved of the loss of Gio Urshela as team sweetheart and great third baseman. But that is not all, for Brett Gardner fans, the Locastro acquisition of Locastro probably means the end of Gardner’s 14 year Yankee career.

 

BREAKING: New York Yankees acquire Josh Donaldson in major trade

New York Mets, Josh Donaldson

We have some breaking New York Yankees news this evening. After many fans were growing restless with the slow-paced bombers after the lockout ended, they started their moves with an interesting deal this evening.

It all started when Jon Heyman tweeted out that the Yankees had traded Gary Sanchez to the Minnesota Twins. We then learned the full deal moments later and now the Yankees have officially announced the deal.

The Yankees acquired Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Ben Rortvedt for Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela. This is a deal that has thrown many, including myself, through a loop.

Earlier today, Aaron Boone came out and said that Gio Urshela was the Yanks shortstop. We now know that was just talk as the bombers have acquired Isiah Kiner-Falefa who will fill that stop-gap role until Oswald Peraza or Anthony Volpe is ready to resume the SS position.

Yankees Big Move

Acquiring Isiah Kiner-Falefa makes sense to me and even getting catcher Ben Rortvedt makes sense to me. The Yankees have never been thrilled with Gary Sanchez’s ability behind the plate and they’ve finally moved on.

Where I’m confused is Josh Donaldson. The Yankees have not spent a lot of money on position players as of late, yet they are taking on the full $50 million over two years to acquire an aging Josh Donaldson.

Another interesting wrinkle to this deal is the fact that Donaldson has had issues with Yankees ace Gerrit Cole. To me, this is a tipping point deal and just the start of many additional moves for the Yankees.

It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out, but I’m a little surprised to see Urshela get dealt in this deal. Definitely stay tuned to see what else Brian Cashman has up his sleeve for the rest of the offseason.

New York Yankees: Examining Gary Sanchez, then, now and future with the Yankees

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

Without a doubt, New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez is one of the most controversial players. There are those that support him and those that hate him and believe his time with the Yankees is over.

The fact is that he is somewhere in between in his performance. Although he is not the greatest defensive catcher, the question remains if his power at the plate is good enough to ignore that.

Sanchez burst onto the scene in 2016-17, with a .289 batting average and 53 home runs in 175 games. But since then, he has not come close to those numbers. He has suffered several injuries and has been inconsistent at best on both sides of the plate.

For those who want Sanchez gone, look deep, and you will see a sustainable catcher. If you look across MLB, there aren’t that many catchers that hit better than he does. What causes most fan negativity is that we know his potential, and he is not achieving that.

Even though fans may not like him, they all want him to be better. The Yankee front office has remained committed to Sanchez as they tendered him again, giving him $7.5 million to stay in pinstripes for at least this season. However, if he stays a Yankee beyond, that is in question. He will become a non-restricted free agent at the end of this season. Much of his future has to do with the power he exhibits at the plate this season and whether it makes up for his lackluster defense. Let’s take a look at his baseball history.

On December 2, 1992, Orquidia Herrera gave birth to a baby boy down in the Dominican Republic. That boy was Gary Sanchez. His parents separated when he was young, and he, his three brothers, and one sister were raised by their mother and Grandmother, Agustina Pena. There is not a lot known about how Gary started in baseball, but we do know he played in the sandlots of the Dominican Republic and that he was discovered by Mark Newman, who was at the time the head of the Yankees farm system. At the Yankees training facility complex in Boca Chica, a 15-year-old Gary Sanchez impressed him. In a game, Gary, in just four swings, hit a homer to right, then to center, and then to left field.

Yankees sign prospect Gary Sanchez

At the age of seventeen in 2009, the New York Yankees signed Gary as an international free agent, giving him a $3 million signing bonus. After signing, he started playing with the Gulf Coast Yankees, but he was promoted to the Staten Island Yankees a year later. In 2010, he finished the season with a batting average of .329 with eight home runs and 43 runs batted in and was called one of the best prospects in all of baseball. He started the 2012 season with Charleston but was quickly promoted to the Tampa Yankees and eventually to the Trenton Thunder. in 2015, he was promoted to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders. He got his major league appearance as a pinch hitter of October 3rd, where he went hitless in two at-bats. He played for the Arizona Fall League when the season was over, leading the league in home runs.

Sanchez competes for starting catcher

During spring training in 2016, Gary competed with Austin Romine for the backup catcher job, but Romine won out, and Gary started the season with the Rail Riders. The Yankees again promoted Sanchez to the major leagues on August 3, and he recorded his first major league hit that same day. On August 10, Sanchez went 4-for-5, with his first major league home run and three singles. On August 16, Sanchez had his first two home run games against the Toronto Blue Jays. Early in 2017, Gary served his first stint on the DL. Later in the year, he participated in the Home Run Derby, beating out Giancarlo Stanton 17-16 but losing to Miguel Sano.

Yogi Barra held the New York Yankee most home runs by a catcher record until Gary broke it with 31 in September. That same season, he received the Silver Slugger Award and tied for the most passed balls in the majors. In 2018 he was again on the DL and was out for a month. Also, he was criticized for lack of hustle and more passed balls during the year. After being on the DL twice, Gary played in only 89 games during the year. He finished the year batting .186 and got the award for the most passed balls in majors.

A Gary Sanchez rebirth?

Gary in 2019, as in the past year, was again criticized for his lack of hustle and more passed balls. But on April 7th, Gary hit three home runs in the same game, but he quickly found himself on the IL again. After a few weeks, he returned to a stretch of 0-11 at the plate. He then hit the first grand slam of his career against the San Francisco Giants. During a game in July at Target Field, Sanchez again found himself on the IL, this time with a groin strain. He returned to the rotation much sooner than expected and as a different player. No more lack of hustle, no more passed balls and more home runs. The fact is that the trio of Sanchez, Romine, and Higashioka was the most potent catcher trio in the AL. As the season progressed, he found himself in a home run contest, with Gleyber Torres falling one short of Torre’s 38.

In 2020, Sanchez bottomed out, hitting only .147 with ten home runs, a season he certainly wants to forget. 2021 saw him improving, hitting .204 and playing in the most games since 2017, but he only drove in 53 runs. In both 2020 and 2021, he saw Kyle Higashioka replacing him in many games, including being the personal catcher for ace Gerrit Cole.

Sanchez lives with his wife Sahaira and their four-year-old daughter Sara in New York, but during the offseason, they love traveling. In the past few seasons, they’ve been to Costa Rica, Peru, and in this postseason to Hawaii. Sanchez has often said the birth of his daughter made him realize that he couldn’t squander his opportunity to be a big-league player. So, according to which side of the fence you’re on, you either think Gary doesn’t try hard enough, lacks the hustle, and is a failure as a catcher. Or you think he’s the best thing since sliced bread and a future Yankee great.

Gary Sanchez facts

The facts are this: Sanchez is a better-than-average catcher with an accurate bullet of an arm that few base runners should challenge. According to pitchers, he calls an excellent game. He is a catcher that can hit home runs and lots of them. Gary is still young as a backstop and could very well be known in the future as one of the greatest Yankee catchers in history, rivaling Yogi and Thurman. As we watch Gary, the only thing we worry about is if he can stay healthy and can his hitting improve?

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam

New York Yankees News 12/01: All you need to know in one place

New York Yankees, James Paxton

Second ex-Yankee pitcher goes to East rival

The New York Yankees may be haunted this season when they face ex-Yankee pitchers. Just over a week, ago the Tampa Bay Rays picked up 2021 Yankee pitcher and two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber. The move by the Rays was made after the Yankees failed to offer the no-hitter pitcher a contract for the new season.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that a second ex-Yankee pitcher would be playing for another AL East rival. James Paxton, who pitched for the Yankees in 2020, has been picked up by the Boston Red Sox. Paxton was 16-7 in 2019 and 2020 for the Yankees. The injury-prone pitcher’s contract was not renewed, and he moved on to the Seattle Mariners, where he started only one game. But the Red Sox will take a chance with the pitcher who had Tommy John surgery last season. The contract is for one year at $10 million with a club option for 2023. He will not start the season, but the Yankees can expect to see him on the mound at Fenway Park at some point in the future.

Gary Sanchez remains the Yankee catcher for 2022

At the end of every season, the Yankees contemplate Gary Sanchez’s future, who hasn’t had a good year with the Yankees since 2017. This past season, Sanchez handled the backstop job a bit better than in 2020, but with very inconsistent hitting, and a degraded arm, the Yankees again considered non-tendering him. Sanchez has his supporters, but most fans would like to see him gone.

In previous articles, I have said that Sanchez would not be going anywhere, mostly due to the Yankees’ need to upgrade other positions and the lack of catcher options on the market. Last night many fans were wondering if the Yankees would tender him by the deadline. The Yankees did indeed tender him, so the duo of Gary Sanchez and Kyle Higashioka will man the backstop for the upcoming season. Sanchez was given a 27% raise, worth an estimated $8 million.

Yankee non-tender candidates sticking around

The Yankees not only tendered catcher Gary Sanchez but all of their non-tender candidates. First baseman Luke Voit and third baseman Miguel Andujar will be hanging around as well. The caveat doesn’t necessarily mean they will be playing for the team, but it does mean the Yankees will have something to fall back on should they be unsuccessful in free agency or in the trade market. Tonight the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires. The Yankees will at least know they still have some options at those positions.

The Yankees also cleaned up some loose ends by giving contracts to Gio Urshela ($6.55 million), Domingo German ($1.75 million), and Lucas Luetge $905,000.

Chris Gittens won’t be playing for the Yankees

The Scranton Wilkes/Barre sensation, Chris Gittens, who got to play in a few games at Yankee Stadium last season, is no longer a Yankee and will be playing in Japan this season.

With the RailRiders, he hit .301 with 14 home runs in just 45 games. In this writer’s opinion, he was mishandled on the major league level, getting only 36 at-bats in 16 games that were scattered during the season, which never allowed him to get into his groove. He ended up hitting just .111 with just one home run. The Yankees released him.

Will the Yankees trade for shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa?

With the Yankees losing out on Marcus Semien and Corey Seager, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic wrote that New York is expected to contact the Texas Rangers inquiring about shortstop Kiner-Falefa. Andy Martino echoed the report on Tuesday, saying that the Yankees had already contracted the Rangers.

With the acquisition of Cory Seager, the Rangers no longer need their 2020 shortstop. Should the Yankees work out a deal with the Rangers, make no mistake about it, the Rangers went after Seager to replace Kiner-Falefa, who is not the greatest shortstop, but for the Yankees would certainly be an upgrade from Gleyber Torres. Kiner-Falefa is a very good defender but not great offensively.

A big plus with the 26-year-old is that he stays healthy and is very durable. He played in all but six games in the last two seasons. In 2021 he had a slash line of .271/.312/.357 with 8 homers and 53 RBIs. He also stole 20 bases. Compared to Gleyber Torres, he would be a solid addition to the team.

Yankees sign infielder Jose Peraza to a minor league contract

The New York Yankees guaranteed themselves a backup at shortstop with the signing of Jose Peraza. Peraza is also a utility player that can play just about anywhere, but don’t be mistaken, Peraza is no upgrade from Tyler Wade.

Between 2019 and 2021, Peraza played in just over 200 games with only 13 homers and a batting average of just over .225. His last good season was in 2018 when he was with the Cincinnati Reds. He hit .288/.326/.416 with 14 homers. If he ever reaches the big team for the Yankees he will be a bench piece. For the time being, he will share the infield with another Peraza, Oswald for the Rail Riders.

Could Chris Taylor replace Tyler Wade?

The New York Yankee history shows that the front office loves players that can play multiple positions responsibly. In that end, they may target the former Dodger player Chris Taylor. Taylor is probably the most versatile player of all 2021 free agents.

In 2021 he played 33 games at second base, 9 at third base, 19 at shortstop, 16 in left field, 48 in center, and a few games in right field at Dodger Stadium. Although not above average at all positions, he is adequate wherever the Yankees might need him.

CBA expiration looming, will there be a lockout?

As of right now, it appears MLB will be in a lockdown when the sun rises tomorrow. Going into the last day of negotiations, the sides are still far apart on several issues. Two important ones to be resolved is that the players want more money earlier in their careers, and the owners want to keep that money. Yes, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it is all about money.

Another sticky point, players for decades have generally been fine with a six-year path to free agency – but not when teams so blatantly manipulate the service time of budding stars to make it a seven-year slog suddenly. For the most part, in the last several agreements, the owners have pretty much had their own way. This time the players are not going to take it anymore, thus the likely hood of a lockout.

If there is a lockout, all transactions will cease. The last time there was a work stoppage, it was when the players refused to play. It was 1994 during August in a season without baseball, without a World Series that lasted until it delayed the start of the 1995 season. Ruffling fans, many left the game for other sports. Although a stoppage rewards neither side, it looks inevitable. The big loser is the fans themselves, especially if the issues can’t be hammered out by spring training.

Yankees News: Cashman eyes monster first baseman, Sanchez’s return is troubling

freddie freeman, yankees

Top New York Yankees links:

Yankees, Blue Jays Among Teams With Interest In Freddie Freeman – MLB Trade Rumors

The New York Yankees have been incredibly quiet this off-season, but one star free agent could be a target moving forward. The 2020 NL MVP Freddie Freeman represents arguably the best first baseman in baseball. According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, Freeman was contacted by the Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays, so there could be a bidding war for his services.

At 32-years-old, freeman remains a longshot to depart from the Atlanta Braves, but a team that is willing to push past five years on a potential deal could be the one to earn his signature. This past season, Freeman hit .300 with 31 homers and 83 RBIs. With a low 15.4% strikeout rate and 12.2% walk rate, Freeman is an incredible offensive player coming off a World Series with Atlanta.

Replacing Anthony Rizzo and Luke Voit with Freeman would be an incredible addition, and given his health history over the last four years, he’s also a reliable player they can count on daily. While his defense has been streaky at times, it is good enough for him to be the starter without question. In addition, his lefty bat makes him an intriguing prospect as well, given the short right porch in Yankee Stadium. Freeman could elevate his home run totals to close to 40, if not better in a home run friendly park.

Gary Sanchez’s return is just part of Yankees sad offseason – NY Post

The Yankees tendered three players on Tuesday, one of them being catcher Gary Sanchez. Sanchez has failed to develop into the star the Yankees expected him to be several years ago. This past season, Sanchez hit .204 with 23 homers and 54 RBIs. After recording a measly .147 average in 2020, his numbers didn’t elevate enough to justify keeping him as a long-term solution.

Nonetheless, the Yankees will avoid arbitration with Sanchez and pay him $8 million for the 2022 season. Worst case, he ends up being the primary catcher for one last year in hopes he can turn things around. Otherwise, the Yankees will have to be active next off-season trying to find a supplement.

Yankees bring back three controversial players, avoiding arbitration

yankees, gary sanchez

The New York Yankees had a few difficult decisions to make this off-season, with multiple players headed toward arbitration. Instead of carrying their contract negotiations into the new year, general manager Brian Cashman tendered three players, retaining a bit of depth after allowing Clint Frazier, Tyler Wade, and Rougned Odor to walk this off-season.

Three players the Yankees signed to one-year deals:

1.) Gary Sanchez

One of the most controversial players the Yankees have is slugger Gary Sanchez. The catcher has been wildly inconsistent as an offensive player over the past six seasons, hitting .204 with 23 homers and 54 RBIs in 2021.

Sanchez hit a measly .147 in 2020 during the Covid abbreviated season, with his last positive campaign coming back in 2017.

Ultimately, Sanchez has not developed into the player the Yankees hoped he would be, and Cashman has already indicated he is doing research about potential catching options in case they need to make a change for the 2022 campaign.

While Sanchez’s defense has improved in some areas, he posted just a 17% caught stealing rate this past year, the lowest of his career by a significant margin.

Interestingly, Sanchez will earn $8 million for the 2022 season, earning far above his production levels.

2.) Luke Voit

After winning the home run title in 2020, Luke Voit barely made an impact with the Yankees in 2021. Over just 213 at-bats, Voit posted a .239 average with 11 homers and 35 RBIs. Cashman went out and acquired Anthony Rizzo at the trade deadline to replace Voit after suffering multiple injuries early in the year.

At this point, Voit seems to be a designated hitter or reserve first baseman, so bringing him back for one season wasn’t a bad move.

3.) Miguel Andujar

Another player that has failed to live up to his potential is Miguel Andújar.

Andújar has tested his abilities at multiple spots, including first base, outfield, and third base. Unfortunately, his defense is simply a liability, and his offense isn’t good enough to make up for his lack of balance.

This past season, Andújar enjoyed just 154 at-bats, recording a .253 average with six homers and 12 RBIs. After posting an incredible .297 average with 27 homers in 2018, his progression has stalled significantly.

While the Bombers offered him a new one-year deal, his value comes as a last resort after failing at multiple defensive alignments.

Yankees News: Cashman could let Gary Sanchez go, a starting pitcher the Yankees should target

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

At some point, the New York Yankees are going to have to make a decision on catcher Gary Sanchez, who has regressed over the past few seasons. This past year, Sanchez finished with a .204 batting average, including 23 homers and 54 RBIs. While his slugging percentage finished at .423, his best since 2019, he still failed to propel himself to long-term solution status.

General manager Brian Cashman would love for him to be the future catcher, but at this point, he has to consider alternative options with just one year of arbitration left on his contract. The team isn’t confident they can rely on Kyle Higashioka, and Sanchez saw his defensive metrics struggle in some areas. In 2021, the 28-year-old played in 879 innings, recording a 17% caught stealing rate, the lowest of his career by more than 10%. While he was far better at stopping passed balls, allowing just 8 to get by him, he hasn’t become a balanced player that can hit and defend consistently.

With that being said, there is a chance the Yankees non-tender him, trading for an option like Pirates’ Jacob Stallings.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal believes that the Yankees could non-tender Gary Sanchez, trading for a replacement:

The Athletics’ Sean Murphy and Pirates’ Jacob Stallings are among the catchers available in trade, and the Cubs’ Willson Contreras might be, too, if he does not agree to a contract extension. Among the remaining free agents, Yan Gomes, 34, and Roberto Pérez, who turns 33 on Dec. 23, are perhaps the leading options. The shortage of quality catching might prompt the Yankees to again offer a contract to Gary Sánchez, who is projected to earn $7.9 million in arbitration. A trade for say, Stallings, could lead to a non-tender of Sánchez, who then would be a strong candidate to join the exodus of former Yankees to the Marlins.

Stallings is an interesting option at 32-years-old. This past season, he recorded a .246 average with eight homers and 53 RBIs. He serves more as a contact hitter, but he’s also a stellar defender, recording a .995 fielding percentage with zero passed balls in 892 innings. Earning his first Gold Glove, he would offer a significant upgrade behind the plate compared to Sanchez but doesn’t have the power to supplement his home run totals.

The Yankees should shift their focus to Robbie Ray:

With Max Scherzer signing a $130 million, three-year deal, the Yankees may shift their attention to lefty ace Robbie Ray. After winning the Cy Young award this past season, Ray is looking for a long-term contract with a new team. He posted a career-best 2.84 ERA with the Toronto Blue Jays this past year, earning an 11.54 strikeout per nine rate. He also logged a career-best 90.1% left on-base percentage and 37.2% ground ball rate.

Overall, Ray represents arguably the best starting pitcher on the market currently, but natural regression is a concern. Looking at his statistics, his fastball hovered around 95 mph, the highest it’s ever been. He stopped using his curveball as frequently and relied heavily on his fastball and slider, which did him well.

Considering the Yankees just presented $25 million for Justin Verlander, there is a chance they enter the fold for Ray, who will likely land at a slightly lower price point.

New York Yankees could lose three familiar players as soon as Tuesday

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

The New York Yankees could lose three fixtures with questionable futures this coming week. With the MLB/MLBPA Collective Bargaining Agreement expiring Wednesday, they agreed to move up the day that players can be non-tendered to the day before the CBA expires. Non-tendered players are not given offers to stay with their respective teams.

The Yankees have three players that may be considered to be non-tendered. Miguel Andujar, Luke Voit, and Gary Sanchez. The Yankees already have rid themselves of three other players that they believe have little returning value going forward. Clint Frazier, Tyler Wade, and Rougned Odor have already been shown the door through assignment.

Miguel Andujar

Miguel Andujar, the once-heralded Yankee third baseman of the future, has fallen out of favor, mostly because of injury and lack of playing time. Some may say he still has potential, but when the Gold Glove-like Gio Urshela replaced him at the hot corner, his fate was pretty well sealed.

The Yankees, still seeing potential in the young man, tried to resurrect his career in the outfield and even at first base, but he has failed to shine in those positions as he got less and less playing time. In 2017 he played in a career-high 149 games, hitting 27 home runs, giving hope that he could be the next big Yankee star. But in his other four years at the major league level, he has only been able to play in 83 games combined, 45 last season.

If the Yankees try to salvage him, as he has little trade value, he likely wouldn’t be tendered an offer for much more than a million dollars, but that does not seem likely.

Luke Voit

In 2022 you may not be hearing the “Luke Luke” chant from the Yankee Stadium stands, as he is also a candidate to be non-tendered. The once starting first baseman, although a monster of a man, the lower half of his body has failed him. Whether it be his knees or his feet, he hasn’t been able to stay healthy.

The 2020 home run leader played in only about one-third of the games last season. In his six years with the team, he has only played over 100 games in one season. At the trade deadline last season, he was replaced at first by Anthony Rizzo, who came over from the Chicago Cubs. Much of what happens with Voit may have to do with whether the Yankees plan to resign Rizzo, a solid defender. The Yankees do have other options in the free-agent market that they may consider, but Voit’s time with the team is likely over.

Gary Sanchez

Look for Gary Sanchez and Kyle Higashioka to again team up to catch next season. With Gary Sanchez’s less than stellar defense at the backstop, questionable boneheaded plays, and spotty hitting, Sanchez’s future with the team has been in question annually. Of these three players, Sanchez has the best chance of staying with the team, mostly because there are few upgrades on the free-agent market and few to be traded for.

One thing is for sure, with some deadwood already gotten rid of, and with a possible new backup center fielder, star or stop-gap shortstop, and a new starting pitcher, not to mention bullpen upgrades, the 2022 Yankee team will look very different from the teams of the past few years.