CC Sabathia has faith Gary Sanchez can save Yankees career
CC Sabathia pitched in 561 big-league games well enough to likely gain entry into the Hall of Fame, so he understands catchers.
Fifty of those games were in tandem with Gary Sanchez, who went from 2019 All-Star to a .147 hitter in 2020 when the defensive issues didn’t vanish. It got so bad for Sanchez that he didn’t start in five of the Yankees’ seven postseason games. In the two October games Aaron Boone put Sanchez in the lineup instead of Kyle Higashioka, the manager batted Sanchez ninth.
Now, the Yankees have until 8 p.m. Wednesday (Sanchez’ 27th birthday) to tender him a contract after he was scheduled to pocket $5 million. If they don’t, Sanchez becomes a free agent. The industry winds originally blew in the direction of the Yankees not tendering Sanchez but have shifted recently.
So, if the Yankees bring Sanchez back, the question hovering above the Yankee universe is ‘Can he rebound from 2020?’
Sabathia thinks he can.
“For sure. There are tough times in your career and you have to make an adjustment. He wants to be a good catcher in the big leagues and we obviously know he has the talent to do it,’’ Sabathia told The Post on Tuesday afternoon at Mullaly Park at a Players Alliance event held in the shadow of Yankee Stadium. “Now it is time for him to get back to work and to the level of the player that we know he can be.’’
During his first year out of the game Sabathia was a special adviser to the Yankees’ front office whose contract runs out at the end of the month. Like a lot of folks in baseball, Sabathia watched games from his home instead of live and didn’t focus on Sanchez.
Sabathia, who posted a 251-161 career record and a 3.74 ERA to go with 3,093 strikeouts, believes Sanchez’s 2020 nightmare can be erased.
“I definitely know he can turn it around,’’ said Sabathia, who was caught by 19 catchers in his 19 seasons. Only one — Victor Martinez — caught Sabathia in more games than Sanchez. “I saw him on Instagram, he was swinging good.’’
Of course, offseason Instagram swings aren’t against fastballs up in the zone and breaking balls in the dirt, two pitches Sanchez had trouble with this past season when he whiffed an alarming 64 times in 156 at-bats.
Source : George A. King III Link