Over the years, Gary Sanchez has been a popular punching bag for New York Yankees fans and beat writers. At times it has been deserved, as his offensive production has been inconsistent from year to year and his defense is questionable at best. But there are other times when the criticism hurled his way is entirely uncalled for.
A prime example of the latter came in a column by New York Post writer Phil Mushnick. Just take a look at this drivel:
Gary Sanchez needs to get away from the New York Yankees
If one wants to claim that Sanchez has been a disappointment in his career, that argument could be considered. He has yet to live up to the weight of expectations as he was a consensus top 100 prospect for four years and considered to be one of the top catching prospects in the game.
The Yankees had expected him to continue their impressive lineage of catchers, dating back from the days of Bill Dickey through to Jorge Posada. However, Sanchez is not going to be any of those catchers, which seems to be enough to draw the ire of others.
While he has been inconsistent, Sanchez has also been a solid option behind the plate over his career. He has produced a respectable 117 OPS+ in his 1781 major league plate appearances, a number that is even more impressive considering his position. In that time, Sanchez has hit 117 homers and 66 doubles, numbers that are rather solid.
But that is not enough. He needs to be fluent in English as well, ignoring the fact that players such as Ichiro or Masahiro Tanaka also used interpreters throughout their tenure in the majors. He went to the Dominican Winter League for the first time since 2014 to work on his swing, but the fact that he is not bringing back memories of Yogi Berra makes that a failure.
It certainly does not help that the organization seems to have the same perception. There was discussion that Sanchez would not be offered arbitration, and that the Yankees were considering targeting a catcher in free agency. When he was brought back, it almost felt as though it was for lack of any other option.
At this point, it is fair to ask what more Sanchez can do. He is never going to be a Gold Glove caliber catcher, which was plainly apparent in his minor league days. Maybe he will not be a Hall of Fame caliber backstop, but he is better than the majority of what is out there. And yet, that is never going to be enough for anyone.
Gary Sanchez deserves better than what he has gotten. At this point, it is clear that he needs to get away from the New York Yankees.