Sanchez has hit two home runs and performed well behind the plate so far in spring training, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports. These are promising signs for Sanchez, who struggled both offensively and defensively last season. It is also worth noting that the backstop has struck out only twice in eight plate appearances thus far -- not an earth-shattering rate for most players or even a big sample size, but a promising one for Sanchez given his 36.0 strikeout percentage last season. The 2021 campaign figures to be an important one for Sanchez, who lost his starting job in the playoffs last season and could test the patience of the organization if he gets off to a slow start.
Sanchez and the Yankees reached a one-year, $6.35 million deal Friday, avoiding arbitration, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports. Despite a lackluster season during the 2020 campaign in which Sanchez lost out on playing time late in the year, the two sides won't need to go to arbitration during the offseason. Sanchez will have to compete for the starting role during spring training after slashing just .147/.253/.365 with 10 home runs and 24 RBI over 178 plate appearances last year.
Sanchez was tendered a contract by the Yankees on Wednesday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. Sanchez posted lackluster numbers at the plate in 2020 and was rumored to be a non-tender candidate during the offseason. However, he'll remain with the Yankees next season while also avoiding arbitration. While Kyle Higashioka enters the season as the favorite to serve as the Yankees' primary catcher, Sanchez could certainly carve out more playing time in 2021 if he can return to his previous form.
Sanchez will sit for Game 4 of the ALDS against the Rays on Thursday. It's been quite a fall from grace for the catcher, who sits in favor of Kyle Higashioka for the third time this series. It's not hard to see why the Yankees don't want Sanchez in the lineup in an elimination game, as he's gone 1-for-8 with four strikeouts this postseason after hitting a miserable .147/.253/.365 during the regular season.
Sanchez isn't in the lineup for Game 3 of the ALDS against the Rays on Wednesday. Sanchez went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts during Game 2 on Tuesday, and he'll get a breather for the third game of the series. Kyle Higashioka will take over behind the plate.