Gary Sanchez, Catcher, New York Yankees

Yankees: For The Umpteenth Time – Gary Sanchez Is Their Guy

For the umpteenth time, Yankees GM, Brian Cashman, asserts that Gary Sanchez is their guy. Okay, I give and he’s my guy too.

Gary Sanchez, more than any other player on the Yankees, has been the subject of this column. On balance, my stories have been largely negative, but occasionally I’ve been trying to be drawn into the fold with stories like this one, which rationalized that Sanchez is merely another catcher in the long list of Yankees offensive catchers.

In the midst of all that though, the Yankees have remained true to their young and embattled catcher. Most recently, Brian Cashman, answering yet another question from a doubtful reporter, hammered the point home about Gary Sanchez’s place in the Yankee’s organization.

“It would be hard not to have Gary Sanchez as our catcher,” Cashman said, speaking to Yankees reporters in a private room at the winter meetings. “He’s certainly someone that we’ve invested in and believe in and expect to be a part of this place moving forward.”Coley Harvey, ESPN

So, let it be. Brian Cashman has earned his pinstripes and who am I/We to argue with his judgment?

The Yankees certainly need his explosive bat in their lineup, whether he is positioned behind the plate or as the designated hitter. This, while no one can argue that Gary Sanchez presents defensive liabilities every time Aaron Boone writes his name in the lineup as the catcher for that game.

Yankees pitchers will need to adjust accordingly, but not so much as to stop that slider down and away, off the plate, a sure swing and miss off the hand of Luis Severino, for instance, and a pitch that needs to be blocked in the dirt by Sanchez.

That scenario will never change, no matter how much faith Cashman and the Yankees have in Gary Sanchez. Improvement in that area will need to continue on the part of Sanchez, or it’s only a matter of time before Boone texts Cashman with a terse message, “Brian, I can’t do this anymore”.

Or worse, a starter or two marches into the office of Aaron Boone with the same message.

So, we are left to believe (and hope) the Yankees are buying into the determination of Gary Sanchez to make himself a better catcher. Not a Johnny Bench or Yadier Molina, just a good and solid major league catcher.

The accolades come easily from the teammates of Gary Sanchez regarding his work ethic:

“Nobody sees what’s behind the scenes,” Austin Romine said. “I just saw the guy hit for an hour and a half down there [in the cages] after he did his catching drills for an hour. People don’t see that. We do. That’s why you earn respect amongst your teammates.”Erik Boland, Newsday

And that’s from a player who can easily be squeezed out of a job if Sanchez improves on his defense.

So, myself as well, let’s squash all the trade rumors about the Yankees secretly coveting J.T. Realmuto, willing to trade Sanchez, Miguel Andujar, and half the farm system to get him.

Gary Sanchez will be the Opening Day catcher when Aaron Boone fills out his lineup card. And for the Yankees to succeed, Sanchez needs to succeed. So, therefore, I’m all in, and even more than Greg Bird, Gary Sanchez is the guy I will root to have the great season we’ve all been waiting for.

And hopefully, this is just a taste of what we’re in for…

Written by Steve Contursi, Editor, Reflections On Baseball

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