Report: Yankees planning to tender Gary Sanchez prior to 8 PM deadline

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

The New York Yankees have control over catcher Gary Sanchez until 2023, whether or not he is in their long-term plans remains a mystery. Nonetheless, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported that the Yankees plan to tender Sanchez a new contract for one year.

Sanchez, who recently joined some teammates in the Dominican Republic for winter baseball, is hoping to spark his development once again. His last stellar campaign was in 2017 when he had 33 homers, 90 RBIs, and finished with a .278 batting average. However, he is gradually fallen off offensively, finishing the 2020 season with a .147 average and a career-high 36% strikeout rate. This was also the first season he finished with a negative WAR at -0.1.

Sanchez, who still ranks among the best in the MLB at catcher based on potential, simply can’t manage to regain his confidence and health. Injuries have taken their toll on the 28-year-old, especially regarding his lower back.

The New York Yankees are doing everything they can to help Sanchez:

The Yankees brought in former Twins catching specialist Tanner Swanson to help change Gary’s mechanics behind the plate, but they once again resulted in poor defensive performance. He finished 2020 with a .986 fielding percentage, five errors, and five past balls. The Yankees eventually elected to start Kyle Higashioka for a majority of the postseason and made him Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher, which did not benefit Sanchez at all.

There have been reports that the Yankees are intrigued by future Hall of Fame catcher Yadier Molina and Chicago White Sox alternative James McCann. Both would represent upgrades over Sanchez based on his 2020 performance, but one is an aging commodity and the other an inconsistent player with a minimal sample size of quality play.

Of course, there is a slight chance they pursue JT Realmuto, the best catcher in baseball, during free agency, but his price tag is way over the Yankees’ head. Considering how much they spent on Cole last year to establish their race, I don’t imagine they will be breaking the bank in 2021.

Also, happy birthday to Gary Sanchez!

New York Yankees: CC Sabathia says Gary Sanchez has the talent to rebound

New York Yankees, Yankees, CC Sabathia

CC Sabathia is a well-respected figure in the New York Yankees‘ universe. Upon arriving as a free agent, he delivered the first championship for the city in nine years, in 2009 (and the last to this day.) He was an active member of the team until hanging up his cleats in 2019.

And, having played major league ball for 19 years (11 of them with the New York Yankees) he’s an authorized voice when it comes to offering his insight about the issues and situations taking place in the Bronx.

One of the conundrums of the Yankees’ offseason is what to do with struggling catcher Gary Sanchez. The Kraken slumped all the way to a .147 batting average, a 36 percent strikeout rate, and a 69 wRC+ in the condensed 2020 season. He even lost his place in the starting lineup to career backup Kyle Higashioka in the playoffs.

The former Yankees pitcher defends his batterymate

Sabathia spent more than four seasons with Sanchez as his batterymate, and he said he is confident that the Yankees’ catcher can get back on track and resurrect his stagnant career. He believes in his vast potential for 2021 and beyond.

“For sure,” Sabathia told the New York Post’s George A. King III when asked about Sanchez’s rebound prospects. “There are tough times in your career and you have to make an adjustment. He wants to be a good catcher in the big leagues and we obviously know he has the talent to do it. Now it is time for him to get back to work and to the level of the player that we know he can be.”

Sanchez’s line in the 2020 campaign was .147/.253/.365 with 10 home runs and 24 RBI in 49 games.
He was much better back in 2019, when he slashed .232/.316/.525 with 34 home runs and 77 RBI. At this point, given his fly ball tendencies and his slow sprint speed, Sanchez’s batting average upside is limited, but the Yankees are expecting a much higher wRC+ than 69 for the future.

Sanchez could be a non-tender candidate for the Yankees if they decide to move on from his projected $5.5 million 2021 salary.

New York Yankees: Deivi Garcia makes his debut in winter ball with Tigres del Licey

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

The New York Yankees have several prominent players getting some run in winter ball this season. Because of the shortened 2020 and the absence of minor leagues, the Bombers want some of the best and youngest values to get some plate appearances and innings in Latin American baseball.

New York Yankees’ Gary Sanchez will make his debut for Dominican club Toros del Este on Friday, the first time he will play winter ball since the 2013 season. Miguel Andujar and Domingo German are playing in the same team.

And Deivi Garcia, one of the Yankees’ rookie revelations in the condensed 2020 campaign, made his presentation last night in the LIDOM (the Dominican circuit) with the most decorated club there, Tigres del Licey.

The Yankees’ righty had a good night

The Yankees’ prospect, according to Licey’s official page, was on a pitch count to begin the night, as he just pitched 1.2 innings. He didn’t allow any hits or runs, walked two batters and struck out one. All in all, it was an impressive showing for the young righty, but the walks are a bit worrisome.

As you can probably remember, the Yankees needed Garcia at one point in the season and he didn’t disappoint. In six total starts, he pitched 34.1 innings of a 4.98 ERA and a 4.15 FIP. He struck out 22.6% of the hitters he faced, and his BB% was an impressive 4.1.

The last number is the most important in his profile. The Yankees know that as long as Garcia can limit his walks, he will be successful at the major league level. He pitched at three minor league levels in 2019 (Class A-Advanced, Double-A, and Triple-A) and in all of them, his BB% was over 11%.

The Yankees are planning for Garcia to pitch some innings in the Dominican Republic and then get a few weeks of rest leading to Spring Training. He will be one of the top options to occupy a rotation spot in the 2021 campaign, especially if the Bombers fail to address starting pitching in the offseason.

Yankees news: Gary Sanchez’s fate will be sealed today in pinstripes

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

The New York Yankees have one year left of control when it comes to catcher Gary Sanchez, but it seems as if they are not in any rush to extend him on a one year deal. With Wednesday, 8 PM being the deadline to tender a new contract, Sanchez’s fate lies within the next few hours.

It is not surprising that the Yankees are evaluating the catcher position extremely closely, based on Sanchez’s terrible 2020 season. In fact, Sanchez has degraded since his stellar 2017 campaign, when he hit .278 with 33 homers and 90 RBIs. However, fast forward three years, and he finished with a .147 average, 36% strikeout rate, and -0.1 WAR.

The New York Yankees need to understand 2020 was no anamoly:

Last season could be coughed up as an anomaly, but his 2019 numbers were still problematic. Despite hitting 34 homers and 77 RBIs, Sanchez was questionable on defense, another knock on his game. He allowed 15 errors and 18 passed balls, both numbers being extremely high. In 2018 he had a .186 BA with the second-lowest WAR of his career at 1.7.

While he has been a liability at times on both sides of the ball, manager Aaron Boone came to his defense several weeks ago.

“I think he’s been unfairly criticized a lot,” the Yankees manager told Meredith Marakovits on YES Network’s Yankees Hot Stove. “I think at times it’s over the top and people are blinded by some of the things that he’s done really well.

“This year was certainly a challenging year for him and a struggle for him in a lot of ways, but that’s okay,” Boone continued.  “That’s part of the game. Sometimes you have a tough season, and this season was tough for so many people across the league for different reasons.”

Boone is right about one thing, Sanchez had an extremely tough 2020. He played in 49 games and was eventually replaced by Kyle Higashioka, his back up, for the postseason and as Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher. The Yankees cannot continue to rely on Sanchez as an everyday starter if a minor-league backup is able to supplement him with ease.
I still believe they will tender him a cheap deal, but I don’t think his representatives feel he is that worthless. He still ranks as one of the best catchers in baseball, but it is clear that his inconsistencies have become a problem. The Yankees are going to have to make a long term decision sooner rather than later.

New York Yankees Analysis: Should the Yankees re-sign Tanaka or get Cory Kluber?

Tonight by 8 pm, the New York Yankees will have decided on Gary Sanchez, whether to tender him or let him loose. That is just one of the decisions the Yankees will have to make. But the big question this offseason is what the Yankees will do to shore up their sub-par pitching rotation? General manager Brian Cashman in his usual manner, has been tight-lipped about any action he might take. We do know that the Yankees have been in contact with Tanaka; how far that has gone is anyone’s guess.

With the Yankees not likely to spend big for a Trevor Bauer in a year that they will be watching every penny, might they take a chance on Cory Kluber? Kluber is a Cy Young Award pitcher; he pitched for the Cleveland Indians for nine years, racking up a 98-58 record. After being injured in 2019, he was traded to the Texas Rangers. Unfortunately for the Rangers, he ended up pitching in just one game. Though Kluber is certainly a risk given he suffered a broken forearm in 2019 and a Grade 2 shoulder tear in 2020, his ceiling is proven to be a Cy Young-caliber ace.

When comparing Masahiro Tanaka to Cory Kubler, Tanaka carries his own baggage, a partially torn UCL, that the Yankees have to worry about. He could require Tommy John surgery at any time the longer he pitches. Kluber has been cleared to have a normal pitching routine this offseason. It is questionable that he will be 100% at the beginning of the 2021 season. Assuming he will be at full strength midseason, can you imagine a one-two punch in the postseason with Cole and Kluber. That pairing could be the best one-two punch the Yankees have had since 2009.

Kluber does have ties to the New York Yankees, most notably with pitching coach Matt Blake who Kluber worked with while with the Cleveland Indians. He has also worked out in previous offseasons with Eric Cressey, New York’s Director of Player Health & Performance.

Masahiro Tanaka was never the ace the Yankees hoped he would be, and he has regressed some overtime. With Tanaka, the Yankees know what they are getting if they decide to re-sign him. They will be getting an average pitcher that can eat up some innings as far as his postseason value has been greatly reduced. In 2020 he failed miserably in his two appearances in the ALDS and ALCS, racking up an ERA in the stratosphere over 12.00.

Financially both pitchers won’t be cheap, but with Kluber only pitching in eight games in the past two seasons, the Yankee might be able to work out a deal that would be satisfactory for both parties. At the worst, he could be a bust; at best, the Cole, Kluber pairing could be the best pairing going into a postseason the Yankees have ever had.

Another power right-hander who strikes out a ton of batters would go a long way for the rotation, too. Deivi Garcia isn’t an overwhelming righty; Jordan Montgomery is a crafty lefty; Tanaka throws low-90s; and the team can’t bank on Luis Severino being his normal self next season, especially since he’s not expected back until June or July.

If the New York Yankees are willing to take the risk, Kluber could be the fix the Yankees could use. Another consideration is that the Yankees will not want to face Kluber for the Red Sox, Astros, or Tampa Bay Ray, who all will be looking for pitching, especially the Red Sox.

I would still like to see the New York Yankees sign Trevor Bauer, an immediate upgrade from Cory Kluber. But unless general manager Brian Cashman has a blockbuster in mind, the Yankees will not spend for Bauer in these uncertain times. The photo accompanying this story is not Kluber shaving his beard preparing to become a Yankee; he lost a bet and had to shave it on Twitter.

 

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Four Yankee players could be gone by 8 pm

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

For the New York Yankees and the other 29 MLB teams, they have until 8 pm tonight to tender contracts to players of they become free agents and tentatively out of pinstripes forever. Don’t worry, Clint Frazier, Chad Green, Aaron Judge, Jordan Montgomery, Gleyber Torres, Gio Urshela, and Luke Voit aren’t going anywhere. These eight players are too important to the Yankees, and their arbitration salaries are all bargains by major league standards.

However, four Yankees could be gone by tonight. They are Gary Sanchez, Luis Cessa, Ben Heller, and Jonathan Holder. Cessa and Holder will most likely be tendered a contract.

Luis Cessa is often an unrated arm in the bullpen, but nevertheless, Cessa in the last five years with the Yankees has been a workhorse, starting, providing mid relief, and even saving games. The usually reliable Cessa had his best year in 2019, pitching in 47 games and closing out 14 of them with one save. Although his 2020 performance was not up to those figures, he was called to the mound 16 times, closing out 6 of them with one save, while registering his best ERA of 3.32. Cessa will be a keeper.

Jonathan Holder, like Cessa, has also been kicking around for five years and has been mostly solid for the Yankees. Holder was important to the Yankees this past season going 3-0 in 18 games in a 60 game season. Holder is durable and will most likely be tendered.

Ben Heller is another story. Heller is injury prone and hasn’t been much help to the New York Yankees. In his seven years with the Yankees, four in the majors, even though he has one of the lowest career ERA on has 2 wins to he credit. A low ERA doesn’t help much if you can’t stay on the mound. He will likely be non-tendered and be out of pinstripes.

Gary Sanchez is still another story. Whether you believe the possible trade hype from Cashman and Boone recently, or you believed the Yankees’ actions late last season and in the postseason, will determine if Sanchez remains a Yankee. Both manager Boone and Brian Cashman have recently praised Sanchez for his talent and potential to be on the edge of a star player. The question is whether they truly have faith in him or if they were trying to raise his trade value.

Sometimes actions speak louder than words. Last season was Sanchez’s worst season with the Yankees. He hit only .147 and had another season of failing to block the ball. He was so bad that Boone that does not believe in personal catchers allowed Kyle Higasioka to become ace Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher. Near the end of the season took a greater role in catching starts as Sanchez was sat down, even in the postseason. However, I believe that he will be in pinstripes next year, even if it’s only because he is an economical option in a season that the Yankees will be penny-pinching.

 

New York Yankees news/rumors: Tomoyuki Sugano, Garrett Richards linked to Bombers

Tomoyuki Sugano, New York Yankees

With free-agent pitchers being plucked off the market, the New York Yankees are waiting patiently to strike and add a starter to the rotation. With the majority of players signing one-year deals in hopes of cashing in after a contract year in 2021, the Yankees could elect to retain Masahiro Tanaka on an extension. While that would be a familiar face added to the rotation, he does not fully embody a number two arm behind Gerrit Cole.

The Yankees need an elite one-two punch if they want to push deeper into the postseason after a decade of failing to reach the World Series. There’s no question they have the talent, they just fall ill to fatigue during the latter portion of the postseason, and their hitting disappears at times.

As stated above, options are quickly thinning, but there are two pitchers the Yankees have been linked to the past few weeks.

The New York Yankees could target an international player:

If the Yankees don’t go with Tanaka, they could look to the international market to help bolster their rotation. The Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan have a fantastic right-handed pitcher that could fit the bill well.

According to MLB Network, the Giants are expected to put him on the market, and at 31 years old, Tomoyuki Sugano is elite in his own respect. In 2020, he finished with a 14-2 record, 1.97 ERA, a 0.89 WHIP, and 131 strikeouts over 137 innings.

Morosi expects some MLB general managers to place Sugano in the class directly below Bauer among free-agent starters and names the Padres, Giants and Yankees as the teams to watch in the race for the 31-year-old righty, per MLB.

Sugano spent the past eight seasons with Yomiuri, posting a 2.34 ERA with 1,216 strikeouts and 265 walks in 1,362 innings. He’s a two-time winner of the Sawamura Award, an honor given to the top starting pitcher in NPB.

Sugano could fill one of three spots the Yankees are looking to fill next season. With James Paxton, Tanaka, and JA Happ hitting the market, Sugano offers a fantastic supplement. Considering Tanaka earned $23 million last season and is 32 years old, he might be more attractive based on his familiarity with the MLB and the Yankees’ Clubhouse. However, taking a chance on a different option could end up being beneficial.

Another arm the Yankees have been linked to is former Padre Garrett Richards. In 2020, Richards pitched in 51.1 innings, logging a 4.03 ERA, 40.1% ground ball right, and 8.09 strikeout per nine. Richards, another injury-prone pitcher, would likely come on a cheaper deal, similar to Paxton several years ago. Theoretically, retaining Paxton might even be a more valuable move based on his lefty arm and dominance when healthy. Richards to simply an alternative that could make sense for the Yankees and their desire to stay under the $210 million luxury tax threshold.

New York Yankees Legends: Yogi Berra, a historic career,”it ain’t over till it’s over.”

New York Yankees, Yogi Berra

Lawrence Peter Yogi Berra was one of the most popular New York Yankees of all time. With all the discussion on who will be the Yankee catcher next season, I thought it would be appropriate to look at one of the Yankees’ most iconic catchers. Yogi was a long time catcher, coach, and manager for the Yankees. Berra was born in 1925 to immigrant parents Pietro and Paolina Berra in the Italian neighborhood of the “Hill” in St. Louis, Missouri. His real name was Lorenzo Pietro Berra. To fans, he was just “Yogi.”

He learned how to catch while playing baseball in the local American Legion baseball team. While playing there, friend Jack McGuire saw a newsreel about India, and he noticed that the Yogi’s sat with their arms and hands crossed, the same as Berra. He began calling him Yogi, and the nickname stuck. After playing for the legion teams, The Yankees signed Yogi for a $500 bonus, but the War intervened. In the Navy, Berra was a gunner’s mate and was involved in the U.S. assault on Omaha Beach. He was also sent to Utah Beach during the D-day invasion. After the war, he received several commendations for his bravery.

Berra was a short guy for baseball norms, but he surprised everyone with his talent during his short time in the minor league Newark Bears. He was called up by the Yankees late in the 1946 season but only played in seven games.   In 1947, he played in 87 games.

In the next fourteen years, the Yankees reached the World Series fourteen times and won it all ten years.  Berra caught in more than 100 games a year in that span. Berra established records for the most at-bats, 259 hits, 71 doubles, ten singles, and 457 put outs in World Series play.

During his career, he was selected to 18 All-Star games, was American League MVP in 1951. 54 and 55. He never finished in the voting lower than fourth throughout his career. To give an example of just how good he was, he was on teams with Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle, yet Berra led in RBI’s seven consecutive seasons. One of the reasons is that he had the ability to hit balls outside of the strike zone. He was also very strong for a small man; he once caught a 22 inning game, which takes tremendous endurance. Being a short guy, it was natural that he would befriend fellow player Phil Rizzuto who was the team’s short shortstop.

During Berra’s best run, from 1950-1956, he averaged 144 games a year and maintained a .295/.365/.502 line. He led the league in games caught in every one of those seasons and led the league in runners caught stealing in the first three of them. He won all three of his MVPs in that span.   Yogi Berra was a notorious bad-ball hitter known for being impossible to strike out; he was fanned only 166 times over those seven seasons combined.  Think about that 166 times in seven seasons.  By comparison, Aaron Judge struck out 208 times in one year (2017). Yankee catcher Gary Sanchez has struck out 396 in just the four years ending in 2019.

After Berra retired as a player after the 1963 World Series, he was immediately made Manager of the Yankees, just one of many coaching jobs he would hold until he again Managed the Yankees for George Steinbrenner. In 1984 agreed to an extension into 1985 with the assurance that George would not fire him. Well, sixteen games into the season, George fired him and didn’t even do it in person. This created a huge rift, and Yogi was absent from Yankee Stadium for over fourteen years. As George aged, he realized that he wronged Yogi and arranged a meeting.  Yogi agreed to it at Yogi’s New Jersey home, and they patched things up. On July 18, 1999, George arranged a Yogi Berra Day at Yankee Stadium honoring the former catcher. On that same day, David Cone pitched his perfect game with Don Larsen in the stands. Yogi caught Don Larsen’s perfect game. From that time on, Yogi was a fixture at Yankee Stadium and became everyone’s Grandfather.  Yogi made his last appearance at Old Timer’s Day in June of 2015.

In 1998, Yogi opened the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center on the grounds of Montclair State University. There was also a baseball stadium named after him. Berra had three sons with his wife, Carmen. In 2012 due to Carmen’s declining health, they moved into an assisted living facility where Yogi would live until his death. In 2014, Carmen passed away. Previous to that, his closest friend Phil Rizutto died. The two people closest to him had died.

Yogi Berra will be remembered as a great catcher and baseball player. Still, he will also be fondly remembered for his Yogi-isms. a series of delightful aphorisms about baseball and life in general, quotes like, “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded,” “90% of baseball is mental, the other 50% is physical”, “when you come to a fork in the road, take it,” “It ain’t over til it’s over,” and “you can observe a lot by watching.” Those are just a few of the wonderful Yogi-isms that are still quoted today.  One day Yogi was asked about his Yogi-isms, he in his way with words: “I never said most of the things I said.”

Yogi Berra is one of the most honored Yankee baseball legends.  He was an All-Star 18 times; no other catcher in baseball has approached that. He was an MVP candidate 15 times while winning the prestigious award three times.  No other catcher in baseball has ever won the MVP three times. His museum displays his 10 World Series rings, which is more than any other baseball player in history. He won three more championships as a coach, including an astonishing 21 total World Series appearances as a player, coach, or manager.  During his eighteen-year career, he amassed  2,148 hits, 358 home runs, and 1,430 RBI’s while hitting a career .285 batting average.  I was lucky enough to watch Yogi’s career, and a great one it was.

After leaving the Yankees, he became a coach for the cross-town New York Mets.  He served under Casey Stengel, Wes Westum, and Gil Hodges for seven seasons, including the Mets’ 1969 World Series win.  During spring training in 1972, Gil Hodges suddenly died, and Berra was made manager. Although he was a successful manager, Berra’s tenure as the Mets manager ended with his firing on August 5, 1975. He had a record of 298 wins and 302 losses, which included the 1973 postseason. In 1976, he rejoined the New York Yankees as a coach.   During that time, the Yankees won the Fall Classic in 1977 and 1978. Berra was again named Yankee manager before the 1984 season and was quickly fired, leading to the aforementioned riff with owner George M. Steinbrenner that lasted for fourteen years.

In 1985 Berra signed with the Houston Astros as a bench coach and led the team to the NLCS in 1986.  Berra stayed with the Astros completing the 1989 season. He finished his managerial career with a regular-season record of 484–444 and a playoff record of 9–10. Yogi Berra was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.  In the same year, his Yankee number 8 was retired with a Monument Park plaque at Yankee Stadium.

Sixty-nine years to the day after Yogi joined the Yankees, he passed away in his sleep at 90 in 2015. All of New York mourned. The empire state building was lighted in pinstripes, The Yankees wore “8” on their sleeves, flags flew at half-mast from New York to his birthplace in St. Louis, and a moment of silence was honored at major league games throughout the country. In 2015 President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Yogi with Presidential Medal of Freedom. In Berra’s place, his son Larry Berra accepted the medal.

Yogi Berra, the unlikely baseball Icon and folk hero, lived his long life, on and off the field, with uncommon humility.

Could the New York Yankees and Cubs make a big deal this offseason?

New York Yankees, Yankees, Brian Cashman

Many in baseball have been anxious about this unique offseason. There are so many things up in the air and the New York Yankees have been quiet so far which has fans guessing on what the bombers are doing at the moment.

From all indications, the Yankees are focused on resigning DJ LeMahieu. I was tipped off recently that the two sides were progressing towards a reunion, however, it’s still fluid with plenty of other bidders in the race.

The Yankees view DJ LeMahieu as the key to their offseason. If they resign LeMahieu, they have a general idea on where they want to go. You also have to imagine that they have a backup plan if they can’t bring him back.

There have been a lot of rumors out there regarding the Yankees and their interest on the trade market. One of the names that has been thrown around is the Indians’ All-Star shortstop, Francisco Lindor. 

There has been talked that the team has kicked the tires on a few other fronts. However, there’s one team that I’m thinking of that hasn’t been mentioned a ton with the Yankees as of yet. That team is the Chicago Cubs.

Cubs looking to sell?

The Cubs are going through a transition at the moment. Theo Epstein just stepped down and Jed Hoyer has taken over the team. There has also been talk that the Cubs are going to look to potentially be sellers this offseason.

They have a number of pieces to potentially trade including: Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Wilson Contreras, Kyle Hendricks, Anthony Rizzo, and Kyle Schwarber. At this point, Bryant and Schwarber seem to be the most likely to move, although all could be on the table.

The Yankees and the Cubs have history when it comes to big deals. The Yankees traded away Aroldis Chapman a few years ago to the Cubs which netted them Gleyber Torres. One of the better moves Cashman has made during his time as GM in my opinion.

Who could the Yankees target?

If the Yankees are interested, who should they call about? To me, the two most obvious choices would be Kyle Hendricks and Wilson Contreras. Hendricks is one of the more reliable starters in the NL while Contreras is one of the best catchers in baseball.

Both of those spots are obvious areas of weakness for the Yankees currently. We’ve seen and heard about the Yankees current dilemma with Gary Sanchez. They are still trying to decide what to do with him at the moment.

Another option could be Javier Baez. The former NL MVP runner-up is scheduled to become a free agent after next season just like Lindor. If the Yankees don’t land LeMahieu, perhaps they could work out a deal for Baez as their SS for the future.

There are a lot of possibilities and again, a lot will be driven by what happens with DJ LeMahieu. There’s no real smoke between the clubs right now, but don’t be shocked if you hear about the Yankees and Cubs chatting at some point this offseason.

New York Yankees: Gary Sanchez will make his winter league debut on Friday

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

With the non-tender deadline for arbitration-eligible players tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. ET, there have been rumblings that the New York Yankees could decide not to offer catcher Gary Sanchez a new deal for 2021, making him a free agent. It is extremely unlikely, but it remains a possibility in this crazy 2020.

While the Yankees have a big decision to make in the next few hours, Sanchez is about to embark on a new adventure in his native Dominican Republic. According to local site Precision, the two-time All Star is set to debut in winter league (LIDOM) tomorrow. He will be in uniform in his country for the first time since the 2013 season.

The New York Yankees’ backstop will play with Toros del Este at Quisqueya Stadium against Tigres del Licey.
In that 2013 season with Toros, Sanchez played in 12 games. The Yankees are expecting him to regain some of the luster he had in his career prior to the 2020 season in the Bronx.

The Yankees’ catcher had a season to forget

In a nightmarish season, the Yankees sent Sanchez to the bench come playoff time because of his struggles at the plate. In 49 games and 178 plate appearances, he hit 10 home runs, but they came with a .147/.253/.365 line, a .271 wOBA, and a 69 wRC+, by far the worst numbers of his career.

Sanchez hit the ball harder than ever (average exit velocity of 91.8 mph) but the problem was making consistent contact, as he struck out a career-high 36 percent of the time.

He has 115 home runs in his six-year tenure with the Yankees, including 34 in 2019.

Raymond Abreu, Toros’ general manager, said that “for Toros, it is a privilege to have Sanchez back. We are sure that he will have a huge impact on and off the field.”

Having a good season in the Dominican Republic could set Sanchez up for a successful spring and a positive start of the 2021 season with the Yankees, provided that he stays with the team (the organization recently said that they would “at least listen” to offers for him.)