Monday, January 18, 2016


Now you may be asking..."WHO?" Understandable at this point, he isn't the big splashy pickup that fans would be waiting for. He's had a modest career to put it nicely, but we all know how much the Yankees like to make those low-risk gambles and this could easily be one of them. This is just the kind of strategy that the Yankees are known for so if it happens.....don't be surprised.

So who is Tony Sanchez? Well, he is a former fourth round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates back in 2009 that plays catcher. I should reiterate, he PLAYED catcher for them until he was released on Wednesday after the Pirates picked up Neftali Feliz and replaced him on their 40-man roster. He was a casualty for a relief pitcher on a one year contract. Seems crazy right? Why would a team give up a catcher for a relief pitcher?

Now don't get me wrong, Feliz has a good arm but he isn't the greatest relief pitcher that money can buy. So, the fact that the pirates gave up a catcher could be a red flag for a lot of teams. Fact of the matter is, the Pirates just gave up on him. Sanchez has only played in 51 games of his career. He's only 27 years old but the Pirates were giving other players the catching job over him. Remember Francisco Cervelli, Russell Martin, and Chris Stewart? All three of them got the starting catcher role over Sanchez. Yes, look at that last player again....the Pirates gave Chris Stewart the chance to be a starting catcher over Sanchez. If that doesn't raise an eyebrow I don't know what will.

The Pirates had plans to make Sanchez their everyday starting catcher, but he never made it to that point. He has always had a good defensive glove but his throwing was a weakness and he became error prone down in the minors. Last season Sanchez made 12 errors in 70 games down in Indianapolis.

Now, this is where it can get interesting. The Yankees will need a backup catcher behind Brian McCann and it is likely that Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez will compete for that last spot. What if the Yankees throw a curve ball in this scenario and decide to keep both of them down in the minors and give Sanchez a shot? He would be cheap at this point, and is just the kind of low risk signing the Yankees love.

The Yankees love to try and reform players. Look at what the they accomplished with Nathan Eovaldi, he went from being the National League pitcher who gave up the most amount of hits back in 2014 to their most reliable starter last year. Oh the difference a year can make. The Yankees are good at finding and developing something out of nothing....or something very flawed. Sanchez could be the new project and if they succeed they will once again look like strategic geniuses.

If the Yankees grabbed Sanchez it would also allow Sanchez more time to play everyday down in the minors and develop. He did not get a full season down in AAA so imagine how much he could benefit from it. Also, if the Yankees had to go with Romine as the backup the bench would be lacking because his bat is definitely lacking. Even though Sanchez has had a disappointing career thus far, his bat would likely be more desirable

A catcher is a valuable piece for any team, so he is unlikely to be without a team for long. There is a team out there who will scoop him up....question is, will it be the Yankees?

--Jeana Bellezza, 
BYB Senior Writer and Editor
Twitter: @NyPrincessJ 


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