The Yankees remain united behind their often beleaguered catcher, Gary Sanchez. Cushioned in a powerhouse lineup, this could be Kraken’s year.
The Yankees, with the possible exception of former manager Joe Girardi‘s loss of patience, have always been in the corner of Gary Sanchez. Man to man, his teammates, and coaches, point to his outstanding work ethic, especially regarding his admitted need to improve his skills behind the plate.
Unfortunately, Sanchez has made it doubly difficult for his team of lawyers to defend him in light of numbers that don’t lie.
The passed balls and the inordinate number of strikeouts against the raw power that sends baseballs far into the night skies of the Bronx reflect the enigma and anomaly that captures Gary Sanchez’s career to date.
“I would expect Gary to be behind there on Opening Day,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Sunday morning before the Yankees’ game at TD Bank Park (another win for the scorching Yankees).
Yankees: Personal Catcher What?
Normally not a bit of earthshaking news, Boone’s commitment to Sanchez is noteworthy given that Gerrit Cole will be the Yankees starter against the Blue Jays that day.
Once the center of internal controversy, it appears the issue of personal catcher preferences is behind the players, and Gary Sanchez has made his way into the theater of that elusive matter of trust between a pitcher and his battery mate.
Cole himself took the time to speak about Sanchez with Kristie Ackert and the New York Daily News.
“I think all our catchers have come in super prepared, working hard, everybody’s been healthy for the most part. It’s good to see Kyle out there today and feeling good,” Cole said. “I’ve gotten to work with everybody, and we’re really laying a good foundation as a group…..so a lot of positives.”
Not exactly a ringing endorsement of Gary Sanchez, but it’s certainly a step forward from last year when Sanchez took a seat on the bench for nearly all of the playoffs in favor of his backup catcher, Kyle Higashioka.
Gary Sanchez: A Key, A Cog, Or A Stop Sign In The Yankees Lineup
Gary Sanchez will never be Pete Rose dashing down the first baseline and sliding in to gain a base hit through sheer hustle. He may also never develop into the type of hitter who can hit the ball the other way through the infield on a hit-and-run put on by Boone.
He is what he is, and his numbers this pre-season do not belie that.
So far this spring, Sanchez has shown his power is back with four monster home runs. In 31 at-bats, the 28-year-old is hitting .194 with 11 strikeouts and no walks.
No matter what the Yankees and fans like you and me are saying in his support, those numbers, if projected out over the course of (say) 120 games caught by Sanchez this year, alarmingly speak of a show stopper in the middle of the lineup with men on base ahead of him.
The Yankees lineup is predicated on a “keep the line moving” approach that gets rewarded when someone – anyone – connects for a three-run home run putting a crooked number up on the scoreboard.
Dropping Gary Sanchez down in the order from (say) fifth or sixth does not appear to be an option for Aaron Boone either, given his lack of speed on the basepaths.
Yankees: Winning Trumps Everything – Aaron Boone
So, to reiterate, Gary Sanchez is what he is, and the prevailing thinking within the Yankees organization seems to be – “Let’s leave the guy alone. Get him his at-bats, and hopefully, he gets off to a good start as a confidence booster – because we sure as hell need him.”
Winning, of course, trumps everything – and if the Yankees appear to be on their way to another 100+ win season – then Gary Sanchez becomes just another cog in the wheel – good, bad, or indifferent.
There’s a wild card in the mix, though, that we should keep our eye on, and that’s the status of Aaron Boone as manager of the Yankees.
Despite two consecutive 100+ win seasons 2018-19, Boone has yet to be his Yankees to the real show of the major league season – the World Series.
Interestingly, it was after the Yankees’ 4th loss in a row to the Cleveland Indians that Joe Girardi leveled his “He needs to improve, bottom line he needs to improve,’’ reaction to Gary Sanchez’s non-performance in blocking balls in the dirt.
Subsequently, it was Girardi and not Sanchez who was let go.
Yankees 2021: Boone And Sanchez Both Under The Microscope
The point, of course, is to watch Aaron Boone if the Yankees stumble and trip through the opening month or two of the season when the bell starts ringing in the New York media for his dismissal, does Boone start looking for scapegoats – i.e., a possible prime target like a still floundering Gary Sanchez.
As the Yankees manager, Boone is used to the New York pressure, and he gets that it comes with the job. But at the same time, he has never felt the full bore (think Mickey Callaway or Terry Collins of the Mets) of the media when it turns.
A better scenario and the one we would prefer, of course, is that the Yankees, Gary Sanchez, Aaron Boone, and the entire universe swings its way toward a season that is Kraken, in more ways than one.
Accordingly, I hereby pledge to not engage in any further commentary beyond the lineage of stories I’ve already written about Gary Sanchez – choosing instead to stand by in the hope the Yankees know better than me…
Reader Comments Not Among The True Believers
He is an Albatross….automatic outAs A Yankee Fan Of 58 Years? Once Hal Stien -boner told Michael (Fat Head) Kay “We Are NOT Going To Spend Anymore Money And Gary Sanchez will be The Catcher Next Season” I Knew What The Outcome Of This Spring Would Be. Gary Sanchez Is The Single Worst Catcher The NY Yankees Have Had In My 58 Years As A Fan!Mario AdornoI agree 100%, and his chances of having a comeback year are very slim at best, I cannot stand watching him wave at the low outside pitch and strikeout at an alarming rateAlways been a fan good or bad
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AdminI’m hopeful, but it really needs to be “his year” or else.Über hot first 2wks…back to under .200Sanchez is horrible, but make no mistake if Cole losses his first game you won’t see Sanchez catch him again