Call it a twist of fate or a godsend in disguise, but Gary Sanchez landing on the DL gives the team a chance to “re-educate” their All-Star catcher as to the ways of the Yankees. A lot is riding on the next month or so, but none of it will affect this Yankee’s team.
Quite noticeably, when Robinson Cano took himself out of the Seattle Mariner’s lineup, the team roared off on a win streak that has brought them to second place in the AL West, seriously challenging the Houston Astros for the Division lead. It wouldn’t surprise me if losing Gary Sanchez had the same effect on the Yankees.
Gary Sanchez is not suited for the 2018 Yankees lineup. Everyone by now knows the numbers, including the sub-.200 batting average and the power threat he represents with 14 home runs to go along with a very underwhelming 44 hits he’s been able to muster over 63 games this season.
His moodiness and low energy, especially behind the plate, continues to confound even those closest to him, as well as the Yankees brass. Something’s not right with Gary Sanchez, and it goes far beyond his batting average.
Writing in the New York Daily News today, Mike Mazzeo touched on something rather telling as to how the Yankees view the time off Gary Sanchez is facing. This, from Aaron Boone:
Getting Sanchez to be “Proactive in conditioning” sounds an awful lot like laziness, no? And remember, this isn’t the first time a Yankees manager went out of his way in an attempt to mend the ways of Gary Sanchez. Yankees fans recall Joe Girardi‘s standoff with Sanchez last season in full view of the YES TV cameras for not hustling to block the nasty sliders thrown purposively in the dirt by Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka.
Look, it’s not easy to get on a kid who’s only 25 with a little more than three year’s experience playing for the Yankees. But when you look at the maturity level of Severino, Gleyber Torres, and Miguel Andujar, all of whom are even younger and with less experience, it should give pause to wonder if maybe the Yankees are becoming exhausted, in trying to nurture and force-feed Gary Sanchez as to the ways of a major league ballplayer, and in particular, the ways of the New York Yankees.
The Yankees, in fact, counted so much on Gary Sanchez being the player he can be this season that Brian Cashman did not pursue a backup during the offseason, other than Austin Romine for Sanchez. Romine has been terrific behind the plate and has surprised with his hitting. But Kyle Higashioka, recently recalled from Triple-A Scranton where he belongs is hardly the answer to spell Romine.
Even worse, this gives the Yankees another reason to not part ways with the ever non-productive Neil Walker, who now mans the role as the emergency third catcher on the team until Ronald Torreyes is ready to don the shinguards. Did anybody say, Jonathan Lucroy?
So, the Yankees will put Gary Sanchez through the paces, whether he likes it or not. He’ll be driven to erase some of the baby fat he carries, look at the video of his at-bats under the watchful eyes of someone the Yankees will designate as his babysitter for the next month or so.
And the Yankees will carry on without him, much as they did last night by doubling up on the hot Phillies by a score of 4-2. Romine went 0-3, but he was splendid in calling the game for rookie starter Jonathan Loaisiga, who notched his second win of the season in three starts.
The trouble will come when Gary Sanchez is pronounced ready to go, sometime after the All-Star break. Sanchez, who has a history of marching to his own drummer stretching back to the days in the Yankees farm system when he was suspended “for reasons not disclosed,” but very easy to guess.
Gary Sanchez has reached the proverbial “fork in the road,” and in this case, the suggestion by Yogi Berra to “take” it does not apply. Instead, the Yankees will be looking to Sanchez to choose as to which road he will take.
In the meantime, there is no need to worry about the Yankees. And much like the Mariners who looked at the loss of Cano with barely a hiccup, so too will the Yankees emerge as a better team without Gary Sanchez.