Gary Sanchez turned 28 years old Wednesday and obtained the ultimate birthday gift: a contract tendered by the New York Yankees.
Longtime MLB insider Jon Heyman reported the Bronx Bombers would offer the contract to the polarizing backstop.
This is the best news Sanchez could’ve received. He posted an awful line of .147/.253/.365 in 49 matches. He hit ten home runs but only recorded 23 hits on the season.
His strikeout rate (K%) was a horrific 36%. Sanchez also struggled defensively again and was ultimately benched for backup Kyle Higashioka in the playoffs. As for money, it’s difficult to say. Sanchez was awarded $5 million in his first year of arbitration, which shrunk to $1.85 million due to the pandemic. Spotrac estimates his 2021 earnings at $5.75 million, which is fair given his subpar performance from last campaign.
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All in all, expect Sanchez to be the most heavily scrutinized player on the team once spring training comes along. Forget Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton’s never-ending hailstorm of injuries. Don’t worry about the state of the pitching rotation and who lines up behind ace Gerrit Cole.
Sanchez and his ability to rebound from a bad season, yet again, will be the story.
This is something of a gamble by general manager Brian Cashman. The Yankees employ no promising catching prospects anywhere close to MLB-ready. Higashioka can step up and start if things become detrimental, but doesn’t sport the power that describes Sanchez’s presence in the lineup.
Simply put, the Yankees are at a crossroads. One path leads to Sanchez finally righting himself and potentially becoming New York’s next franchise catcher.
The other, however, leads to the struggles continuing and the Yankees needing to trade for a backstop, likely at the cost of top prospects. Hopefully, tendering Sanchez a contract proves to be the right move.
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