New York Yankees Breaking News: Catcher Gary Sanchez will remain a Yankee for 2021

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

The New York Yankees had until 8 pm tonight to tender catcher Gary Sanchez an offer, and they have just told Sanchez he will be tendered a contract according to Bob Nightengale MLB insider and columnist for USA Today. Gary Sanchez will be a Yankee during 2021. Of course, it is still up in the air as to if he will be the starting catcher. Much of that may have to do with how he does playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic and if the Yankees make any other moves to bolster their catching for next season.

Sanchez is coming off a horrible season when he only hit .147 and continued to fail to block balls at home plate. He did hit 10 home runs during the season, but other than that, he failed badly and was eventually hitting ninth or sitting out games.

There is no question that the Yankees lost faith in Sanchez as the past season progressed in favor of Kyle Higashioka. That being true, the Yankees still believe in the talent that Sanchez processes. On the hot stove, manager Aaron Boone all but said that Sanchez would remain in pinstripes as he sang his praises and belief that the crazy 60 game coronavirus season was a blip in his performance. They continue to believe they can again unlock that talent.

There is no question that Sanchez is trying to improve, as demonstrated by him playing in the winter league in the Dominican Republic. If they do indeed tender him, it is this writer’s opinion that it will be a mistake.  In four years, they haven’t been able to improve his defense. The guy just can’t hit for contact. In contrast, most players have trouble with offspeed stuff and usually make contact with fastballs. Many of Sanchez’s strikeouts come off of pitcher’s fastballs. Nevertheless, the Yankees did tender him.

I like Gary Sanchez; I just feel he can’t get the job done. I hope he and the Yankees can change my opinion of him this coming season. To stay abreast of the latest New York Yankee news, stay with EmpireSportsMedia.com

New York Yankees Report Cards: Gleyber Torres, where will he play in 2021?

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The New York Yankees didn’t re-sign Didi Gregorius after the 2019 season; instead, let him become a free agent and join Joe Girardi’s Philadelphia Phillies. Meanwhile, the Yankees slotted in Gleyber Torres at shortstop. It should be remembered that Torres, a second baseman, never asked to be the shortstop; he agreed to it for the sake of the team as they had no other viable options.

During spring training and the summer camp, the Yankee continually touted that they had faith that Torres could do the job adequately. What happened is that he didn’t perform well in his new position. At one point in the season, he had the most errors at short than any other shortstop in baseball. Add to that the 2019 home run leader who had 38 home runs during that season stopped hitting for whatever reason. He got only 3 home runs, and his batting average dropped from .278 to .243. Torres is still very young and has the ability to return to the player he was in 2019. The Yankees are hoping this is just a blip in career.

Gleyber Torres report card: C

Where Torres will play in the 2021 season has yet to be determined. The New York Yankees know he has a lot of talent and wants to see him back at second base, his natural position. But, the is in question; it depends on if they can land a better quality shortstop and if the Yankee re-sign DJ LeMahieu, which is one of their priorities.

Gleyber Torres made his major league debut on April 22, 2018, against the Blue Jays but went hitless. The next day he got his first hit off the Twins. On May 4th, he recorded his first home run. The youngest Yankee to do so since 1969. During 2018 after batting .297 with fifteen home runs, he was selected to the All-Star team. He was named AL player of the week twice. For his sophomore season, on April 4, 2019, Gleyber Torres became the fourth-youngest Yankee with four hits and three extra-base hits in a game since Joe DiMaggio did it in 1936.

On June 29, 2019, he hit the 39th home run of his short career. On August 2nd, he hit his second Grand Slam. To end his 2019 campaign, he batted .278 and led the New York Yankees with 38 home runs with 90 runs batted in. In his two years in the majors, he has been a New York Yankees All-Star twice and has received an MVP nomination. He finished the 2019 campaign he ended with 62 home runs for his three-year career and 167 RBIs.

Torres played well in the 2020 spring training and the later summer camp. The New York Yankees had great hope for their young, new shortstop would repeat his excellent performance. The Yankees hoped for the best as he tried to follow in the footsteps of Yankee all-time star Derek Jeter, and last year departing Didi Gregorius, who is now a Philadelphia Philly.

Fast forward to the coronavirus shortened baseball season.  Has all the 2019 magic disappeared from that new guy at short? Well, it appears there certainly have been some struggles that he has suffered, from both behind the plate and at his new position.  Before Torres went on the IL with both calf and hamstring strains, he led the league in errors at short and was hitting just .231 with only one home run and a measly six RBIs.

On August 21, Torres went on the 10 day IL. In  Baltimore against the Orioles, Gleyber Torres returned to the Yankee lineup. He had three at-bats and managed a double in the game. In the entire month of August, he didn’t get a single home run.  In September when he plays in all games he had eight games when he didn’t make a hit. He was somewhat better in the postseason hitting 4 hits in the seven games, two of them home runs. One season does not make a career. This season may be a blip in his journey to becoming a Yankee star.

 

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: HBO to air CC Sabathia Documentary

New York Yankees, CC Sabathia

HBO has partnered with Major League Baseball to produce documentary on New York Yankees legend CC Sabathia, titled Under The Grapefruit Tree: The CC Sabathia Story.

According to a press release, the documentary takes a look at Sabathia’s life and career, including behind-the-scenes footage of his final season.

“I couldn’t be more grateful for the chance to give viewers an inside look into my career and to share my unfiltered story,” Sabathia said. “I struggled for a long time with alcohol addiction and anxiety, which I pretty much hid from everyone I knew. It’s my hope we can inspire athletes and non-athletes alike to open up and let their friends, family and teammates know that there is a path through this. You are not alone.”

Sabathia, 40, made his MLB debut in 2001 with the Cleveland Indians, where he’d finish second in Rookie of the Year voting. He made all-star game appearances in 2003, 2004, and 2007 with the Indians, and would win his only Cy Young award in 2007.

With 2008 being a contract year, Sabathia got off to a rocky 6-8 start. He was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers before the trade deadline, and would go on to have one of the best stretches of his career. In his 17 Brewer starts, Sabathia went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA, leading the team to their first Postseason appearance in 26 years.

That off-season, Sabathia inked a seven-year, $161 million contract with the Yankees, the largest for a pitcher at the time. His first four seasons in New York were stellar, leading the league in wins his first two years and helping the Yankees to a 2009 World Series ring. He’d place in the top-four of Cy Young voting and be nominated to the All-Star Game three times in his first four seasons.

Following the 2011 season, the Yankees inked him to an extension through the 2016 season with a vesting option for the 2017 season. He struggled with both his health and his performance during that span, but showed effectiveness at times with solid control as he aged.

Sabathia’s 9-12 record and 3.91 ERA in 2016 led to the Yankees picking up his 2017 vesting option. He’d go on to a 14-5 record with a 3.69 ERA that season, getting his career fully back on track. The Yankees would then sign him to one-year deals for both 2018 and 2019 to finish his career a Yankee.

The documentary premiers Tuesday, December 22nd, at 9pm ET on HBO and streaming platform HBO Max.

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.