Gary Sanchez endured a nightmare campaign for the Yankees in 2018, but Brian Cashman isn’t going to allow another team to acquire him on the cheap.
Enterprising general managers all over MLB have placed calls to the Yankees about making a trade for Gary Sanchez this winter. Brian Cashman isn’t in the mood to accept any offers though. He remains insistent that Sanchez will be a Yankee when the 2019 season begins.
It’s easy to understand why opposing GMs would want to deal for the 26-year-old catcher. Despite the fact that he only managed to slash .186/.291/.406, there’s little debate about the fact that he’s one of the most talented players at his position in the game. The Yankees have high hopes that he’ll bounce back and become an All-Star next season.
That’s precisely why Cashman flatly called any reports linking Sanchez with an exit from the Bronx as “false” on Sunday. In fairness, this is not a new refrain for the Yankees GM. He’s been very consistent on Sanchez’s status with the club during the entire offseason. Cashman hasn’t wavered on his faith in the talented backstop at all.
That doesn’t mean the rumor mill regarding Sanchez is going to stop anytime soon. Anytime a supremely talented player endures a down year you can safely expect other teams to try to acquire them via a cut-rate trade.
Cashman isn’t a perfect GM, but he’s much too savvy to deal Sanchez out of a place of weakness. Even trading Sanchez for a star like J.T. Realmuto would mean giving up on one of the organization’s most talented hitters. That’s the kind of deal a team trying to consolidate their roster to make the playoffs might be tempted to make. That’s not the situation the Yankees find themselves in. They’re out for another World Series ring. That makes keeping hold of potential superstars like Sanchez a necessity for the front office.
None of this means that 2019 isn’t a gigantic season for the controversial catcher. It’s not an exaggeration to say that it might be a make or break campaign for Sanchez. He cannot afford to go through another year where he looks completely lost at the plate. If he starts next season the same way he scuffled last season it’s very likely the team will look to make a change behind the plate.
There’s also a very real possibility that Sanchez’s struggles in the field will cause him to move positions in the future. The Yankees will do everything they can to help avoid that outcome, but he must improve his ability to block pitches if he wants to reach his full potential.
There are lots of questions about Gary Sanchez’s long-term career, but there shouldn’t be any doubt about what uniform he’ll be wearing in April. He’ll absolutely begin next season in pinstripes.