The Giants announced on Saturday that they’ve signed catcher Gary Sanchez to a minors deal. Sanchez will start in Triple-A Sacramento, but he will make 4m if he gets promoted to the major leagues.
Sanchez, 30, has spent his career with the Yankees and Twins. Sanchez debuted and spent the first seven years of his career with the Yankees and then was traded to the Twins last season. With the Twins, he hit .205/.282/.377, good for an 89 wRC+. Sanchez’s best years came in 2016-17, when he hit 53 homers in two seasons. Since then, though, Sanchez has only broken the 25-homer mark once, in 2019. Sanchez has always had strikeout problems, with a strikeout rate approaching or exceeding 30% each of the last four seasons. Last season, his rate was 29%, but his walk rate cratered to 8%.
Sanchez has had declining offense the last few seasons, and last season was the worst of his career. The Giants hope they can get his bat back to where it was a few seasons ago.
Sanchez has never been a particularly good defensive catcher, but last season his defensive rates improved. His DRS went from an atrocious -10 to a decent +1, and his FRM (framing runs) went from -2.5 to 1.9. Manager Gabe Kapler mentioned to reporters, including Danny Emerman of KNBR, that Sanchez has been on the Giants’ radar for a while, and they view him as a solid defensive option.
Sanchez brings more veteran depth to the Giants’ catching position, with former top prospect Joey Bart, veteran and former gold glover Roberto Perez, intriguing Rule-5 pick Blake Sabol, veteran Austin Wynns, and now Sanchez.
As of right now, the Giants are carrying all of Bart, Perez, and Sabol on the roster. Soon, the Giants will need to add another pitcher to the roster, so when that happens, they will most likely need to drop one of those catchers off the roster.
Sanchez has an opt-out if he’s not added to the active roster by May 1. In the next month, the Giants will have a big task ahead of themselves. They will need to determine which two catchers have most earned a spot on the roster and may have to make a tough decision regarding some of the catchers.